External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj has stirred up a twitter storm by blocking some popular right-wing handles on Twitter. The block feature on twitter allows users to block other users from interacting with them or viewing their tweets. There are times when we have all felt annoyed by certain tweets and have resorted to blocking people and thereby restricting the access they have to our tweets. But should a Union minister block citizens from following her on Twitter? What has led to this kneejerk response?

Sushma Swaraj runs a very popular twitter handle with close to 11 million followers. Many people reach out to her via twitter. Lost a passport in a foreign country? Need to travel on an emergency? Need consular access on a holiday? Whatever the issue for Indian citizens abroad, Sushma Swaraj was always a click away, resolving problems with a warm, personal touch. Though her personal intervention in individual cases won her much acclaim, she also invited criticism from those who argued that her talent was severely underutilized in the ministry.

It is however her assistance to Pakistani citizens that earned her the ire of her right wing supporters and made her a target of incessant trolling with tweets like, “Those who promised to bring us ten heads in retaliation for one are distributing visas to our enemy state,” “You criticise or trash Medical Maata @SushmaSwaraj You will be instantly blocked by her.. even though shes a public offficer…”

Since the time India tightened its visa policy for Pakistani nationals, many Pakistanis have approached Sushma Swaraj on twitter for help with acquiring medical visa on humanitarian grounds. The fact that she has been equanimous and considerate in her approach has earned her the ire of many right-wing twitterati, terming her “Medical Mata” and “Visa Mata”. The recent treatment of Kulbhushan Jadav’s family by Pakistan further aggravated matters.

Here are some of the tweets which led to these people being blocked, and their subsequent reactions.

Ironically many of those who are mocking Swaraj and have been blocked by her are staunch supporters of her own party, some even followed by Prime Minister Modi on Twitter.

Swaraj has been sensitive to criticism and has blocked in the past as well. Anoo Bhuyan, a journalist, who was earlier blocked has since then been unblocked.

Alt News believes that whatever the nature and extent of provocation, a minister should not block a citizen from access. To be at the receiving end of vicious trolling can be a frustrating experience, but as a public official in a domain that requires active intervention and outreach at key moments, Ms. Swaraj’s selective barring of individuals who disagree with her actions and thoughts is disadvantageous to citizens.

Donate to Alt News!
Independent journalism that speaks truth to power and is free of corporate and political control is possible only when people start contributing towards the same. Please consider donating towards this endeavour to fight fake news and misinformation.

To make an instant donation, click on the "Donate Now" button above. For information regarding donation via Bank Transfer/Cheque/DD, click here.
You could follow Alt News posts either via our Facebook page or by following us on Twitter or by subscribing to our E-mail updates.


5
Leave a Reply

avatar
5 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
5 Comment authors
AshajobsupriyaAnandPrince pathakPakChipak RajaBabu Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
PakChipak RajaBabu
Guest
PakChipak RajaBabu

By the end of 2018 even the most ardent bhakt’s romance with modi government and his cabinet minister will stand diluted, their love for their supreme leader is all that would remain intact.

Prince pathak
Guest
Prince pathak

In this case Babul Supriyo is champion in blocking others

Anand
Guest
Anand

Actually What is fake and what is genuine is hard to come by these days as the waters have been muddied so much from both sides.One should read and come to one’s own balanced judgement and take everything with a pinch of salt.Every system will have their line-up of hard core followers and an equal numbers opposite.So I guess,it a vicious cycle with the hungry power brokers selling their fake news or otherwise ,with the common citizen left in the lurch and just wondering which menu to choose from .

supriya
Guest

Very nice action

Ashajob
Guest

Thanks you for good information