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Riding A Troll Tiger

Riding A Troll Tiger

For a change, the BJP has got a taste of what its own troll army does. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was trolled by its own firing squad, using the most unprintable language. The fire and brimstone vomiting troop did not take kindly to the transfer of a passport officer in Lucknow who had allegedly used a prejudiced language to an interfaith couple when they approached him for a passport. Though Mrs Swaraj clarified that she was out of the country when the episode happened, the trolls went hammer and tongs accusing her of appeasing minorities. The ugliest side of the trolls was exposed when they went as far as attacking her for her kidney transplant calling her as one who lives on a Muslim kidney which can stop working anytime. Another troll portrayed her as Mother Mary with a Pakistani flag at her heart, calling her ‘visa mata’.  

Mrs Swaraj is not the first BJP leader to be singed by party followers for taking a moderate line on minorities. Last year, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was subjected to vicious trolling for supporting ‘Kashmiriat’ and seeking peace in the troubled Valley. It has become a trend in the BJP that anyone speaking for the minorities or against the right-wing forces are subjected to abominable abuses by the troll squad. This has become especially true of women journalists who write against BJP or any Sangh Parivar outfit as they are flooded with hate-filled messages and threat to rape and murder.

Such trolls get a boost when senior leaders of the BJP and the government keep mum even when they spew venom on the internet. In the case of Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj, not a single senior BJP leader or Minister tweeted out in support of them. Ironically, it was the Congress that issued a statement condemning the recent trolls. More importantly, some of the trolls are followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many other BJP ministers, sending out a dangerous message that the vicious trolls have official backing. It is reported that 41 BJP MPs follow those who trolled Mrs Swaraj, giving out the impression that the party sides with trolls rather than with one of its most respected ministers.

Now, look at the scenario from a wider angle. If you create a Frankenstein’s monster, it will come back to bite the hands that fed it. Just two examples from history are enough to suffice the point. The Americans armed the Taliban to the teeth to counter the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. As years passed by, Taliban became the biggest enemy of the US and the former inflicted untold miseries on Americans. Similarly, India helped the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka reportedly giving them training in camps on the Indian soil. The same Tigers perpetrated heavy casualties on the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka, a few years later.

It is the same story with trolls who are aided, followed and supported by the BJP. They go to any extent to attack those who oppose the party’s agenda and programmes. Many Opposition leaders, independent analysts and journalists have been at their receiving end. Now the party which rides the troll tiger finds it difficult to disembark. They very trolls the party follows and promotes are getting back at its own leaders who are not toeing the Hindutva line.  

(Published on 02nd July 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 27)