Union Textile Minister, Smriti Irani, on Friday made a passionate defence of some of Twitter’s right-wing vicious trolls, who were followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Trinamool Congress leader, Derek O’Brien, on Thursday had raised the much-talked about issue of right-wing abusive trolls allegedly enjoying tacit approval of PM Modi.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, O’Brien named some of the individuals who were notorious for their abusive behaviour on the microblogging site adding that some had been suspended by Twitter including Bhaksala (run by Rahul Raj) and Mahiviram.
He had said, “”Twenty six Twitter handles that give out rape threats, communal threats are followed by the Prime Minister of India. Twenty six. Two of these handles have been suspended by Twitter. Now this is not Trinamool or Congress or CPM or DMK, this is an international company called Twitter.”
He went on to say, “Where are we headed, sir? And these Twitter trolls, they are paid handles. And they are invited and this is not some private thing, they are public information, it is even published now in a book. They are invited now to the Prime Minister’s house for a nice social digital media party.”
Responding to the TMC leader’s comments, Union Textile Minister, Smriti Irani, urged the Rajya Sabha chairman to expunge from Thursday’s parliamentary records the name taken by O’Brien.
She said, “An individual was named yesterday by my colleague Derek O’Brien, that individual is not a politician, not a celebrity… he’s a common citizen who has the right to free speech but does not enjoy the privilege of this house.
“As the convention of this house, I am beseeching you, kindly expunge the name of an individual as you’ve done on many occasions so the individual who cannot defend himself do so.”
As expected, one of the abusive troll Twitter handle, Bhaksala, was quick to thank Irani.
His tweet read, “Thanks a lot @smritiirani ma’am. Thanks a lot. You spoke for the millions of commoners like me.”
Abusive trolls enjoying Modi’s blessings has been a topic of intense social media debate but even in the face of incessant criticism from intellectuals and hosts of civil rights activists, the prime minister has not stopped following them. Critics say that the abusive trolls in question form the infamous Twitter army of the saffron party.