New Delhi: With 11.7 million Twitter followers, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is considered one of the more popular ministers of the National Democratic Alliance government on social media, particularly for her prompt interventions in cases that require sensitive handling. Swaraj is rarely trolled for any action relating to her ministry.

But on Sunday, she found herself under vicious attack on Twitter over the transfer of a passport officer while she was on an official visit to Europe.

The officer had caused an outrage after reportedly asking a woman—a Hindu married to a Muslim—to change her name and religion before she could get a passport.

“I was told my passport cannot be made because I have married a Muslim and did not change my name. I asked what I should do now. So, I was told to change my name in all documents," Tanvi Seth was quoted as saying by media reports.

Seth’s husband Anas Sidiqui was quoted as saying in one media report that the officer “asked me to change my name, my religion... He said one of us has to change our name or religion".

Seth then tweeted Swaraj. The passport officer was transferred to Gorakhpur, triggering a backlash against Swaraj.

“When you were out of country and every rule of issuing passports are violated for appeasement, further to that, honest officer is punished then you have to hand-over ministry to some capable minister who can run departments in National interest in his/her absence too," said a tweet posted by @nishashah88.

“Biased decision #ISupportVikasMishra shame on you mam...is it effect of your islamic kidney??" asked bajpai_Indra.

One user tweeted outrageous and objectionable comments referring to Swaraj’s 2016 kidney transplant.

However, Swaraj kept her cool. “I was out of India from 17th to 23rd June 2018. I do not know what happened in my absence. However, I am honoured with some tweets. I am sharing them with you. So I have liked them," she tweeted.

According to a person familiar with the developments, the ministry was still in the process of investigating the matter.

“Pending an inquiry, the officer has been transferred. When an officer is being investigated, he cannot be occupying that position," said this person.

Close