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Mamata Banerjee defends Swaraj; Condemns online trolls for their language

By Deepika

Kolkata, July 2: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday condemned online abuse of Union minister Sushma Swaraj on Twitter over the last few days.

Mamata Banerjee

Taking to twitter, the chief minister wrote: "Strongly condemn the language used on the social media against @sushmaswaraj Ji . She is a senior politician. We must respect each other and must never indulge in any form of verbal abuse."

This comes over a week after external affairs minister Swaraj first raised a red flag over abuse from trolls she received over a controversy involving an inter-faith couple in Lucknow, who accused a passport officer of bigotry.

On Sunday, her husband and former Governor of Mizoram, Swaraj Kaushal, gave a deeply emotional response to the trolls targetting her.

"Your words have given us unbearable pain. Just to share with you, my mother died of cancer in 1993. Sushma was an MP and a former Education Minister. She lived in the hospital for a year. She refused to engage a medical attendant and attended on my dying mother personally," Kaushal tweeted.

"Such was her devotion to the family. As per my father's wish, she lit my father's pyre. We adore her. Please do not use such words for her. We are first generation in law and politics. We pray for nothing more than her life. Pls convey my profound regards to your wife," he added.

The trolling of the Union external affairs minister started after she decided to support the cause of an interfaith couple who were denied passport allegedly because of their different religions. Since then Swaraj has been trolled and abused on Twitter and Facebook after she ordered the immediate issuance of passport to the interfaith couple.

The passport officer was later transferred, which led the trolls to attack the foreign minister - who was abroad at the time -- for what they claimed was punishing a man who was only doing his duty.

After returning to India, Swaraj had retweeted some of the abusive posts directed at her.

The Lucknow police have said the inter-faith couple have not been staying at the address they mentioned in the forms for at least a year. Rules demand that an applicant has to give the most recent address -- and any previous ones in a span of a year before applying.

Police sources have said it is possible that they might be asked to file more documents, or even an application at the passport office in Noida.

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