Sunday, October 21, 2018

My name is Shefali Vaidya and I am a troll

Today’s morning dawned with my phone constantly buzzing. Concerned friends and relatives were sending messages asking me if I am okay. Apparently, Hindustan Times has bestowed upon me the honour of Chief Troll, just because I questioned MEA Sushma Swaraj on her ministry’s decision to issue a passport to Begum Sadia Anas out of turn, without fulfilling the necessary criteria. Begum Anas has raised a stink that a Hindu officer from Lucknow passport office, Vikas Mishra had questioned her on the discrepancy between her name on the passport application and her marriage certificate. Begum Anas wanted a passport in the name of Tanvi Seth, while her nikahnaama said her name was Sadia Anas.

The officer, Vikas Mishra was just doing his job. But after Begum Anas played the victim card and tweeted to Sushma Swaraj, not only was her passport issued out of turn without any verification, the poor passport officer was transferred to Gorakhpur instantly, without any internal enquiry. Naturally, there was a lot of outrage on twitter, with people questioning Swaraj.

Predictably, there were some vicious anonymous troll handles that made unkind jibes on Ms. Swaraj’s kidney ailment, which was sickening. But there were a lot of us who asked her politely, without abusing, why was the officer transferred and why was Begum Anas issued a passport out of turn?

Ms Swaraj claimed she was out of India and instead of simply saying, an enquiry will be instituted, she chose to play the victim card exactly like the best in the business like Barkha and Nidhi. She RTd some of the most abusive tweets and liked some tweets including mine, which was a perfectly legitimate tweet questioning her ministry’s actions. I have the right to speak freely and ask questions to the ministers if I disagree with their decisions, and I was exercising it. But Ms. Swaraj chose to target me and some of the most vocal supporters of BJP as trolls. She also blocked some of us who had supported her through thick and thin and chose to unblock vicious troll handles like Sususwamy.

And today, Hindustan Times honoured me and some others with the title of troll. I am sharing the pics of my tweets here for everyone to see.

Many of you know that I have been writing on SM about politics since 2012 supporting @narendramodi ji, coz I genuinely believe he is good for India. I have paid a heavy price for it. I have been abused, received rape threats, my family has been threatened, filthy profiles have been made in my name using pics of prostitutes.

I have been asked to ‘go, sleep with Modi’, ‘give a blow job to Amit Shah’ and a zillion other things, that I cannot even mention here. My children have been mocked. I have been told that my ‘husband is gay’, my pics have been photoshopped.

None of which mattered. I am stronger than any abuse the Chrislamocommie fiberals could throw at me, but it hurts that Sushma Swaraj, someone whom I have admired and supported vociferously in the past would do something like this.

The abuses and death threats made to me never made front page of any newspaper, nor do I want the attention, but I have a question for Sushma Swaraj ji, ‘where were you ma’am when all these years I was tweeting in your support when you were under attack from fiberals?’

As for the worthies at Hindustan Times who called me a Troll, I have only this to say..

‪If speaking the truth without fear makes me a troll‬, Yes, I am a troll.

If criticising a minister’s wrong decisions, even though I support the party makes me a troll, Yes, I am a troll.

If being abused by enemies and ridiculed by ‘friends’ for speaking the truth makes me a troll, Yes, I am proud to be a troll.

If refusing to be a Saffron Pidi who sings only praises of the present government makes me a troll, then yes, I am proud to be a troll!

Shefali Vaidya

Note: Sadiya Anas alias Tanvi Seth, the woman from the ‘interfaith’ couple from Lucknow, whose tweet to the external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj created a nation-wide furore, reportedly gave incorrect details in her application. News reports claim that a police team that went to verify her address provided in the application found no proof of her residing there. Sadiya Anas  had an argument with Lucknow RPO employee Vikas Mishra over the discrepancies in her name. In her nikahnama with husband Anas Siddiqui, Tanvi’s name was reportedly mentioned as Sadiya Anas but she had applied for her passport in the name of Tanvi Seth. The possible innocence of the passport officer led many on social media to back him and via association question Sushma Swaraj as well, for the seemingly wrongful action. Unfortunately, Swaraj during this episode was also subjected to distasteful online attacks by people who felt that she was unfair in her action.While the wrongful nature of the below the belt comments could not be disputed, Swaraj surprised many by choosing to only focus on this aspect after returning from her foreign trip. This act of Swaraj highlighting the hate directed towards her, gave ammo to various controversial journalists like Barkha Dutt to start targeting the “right-wing trolls” and BJP supporters for the episode.This was taken to the next level by a Hindustan Times report, which chose to paint mainstream Right-wing Twitter users as mere “trolls” as part of their “investigation” into the matter. This included claiming that PM Modi followed eight such “trolls” and BJP MPs follow 41 such individuals who “trolled” Sushma Swaraj. Shefali Vaidya was named as one such ‘troll’.

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