Quite a number of the 20 lakh people following Shashi Tharoor on Twitter were surprised as a string of ungainly tweets began to emanate from the minister’s Twitter account from 5 pm on Wednesday. Almost an hour later, Tharoor clarified that his account had been hacked and the ‘inflammatory’ tweets, involving his wife Sunanda Pushkar and Lahore-based columnist Mehr Tarar, were caused by the still-unidentified hackers.
“Sorry folks, my twitter account has been hacked and will be temporarily deactivated. Bear with me while we solve this,” tweeted the MP from Trivandrum. Twitter accounts are among the easiest to hack as people often leave their accounts on ‘always signed in’ modes on smartphones and mobile devices, leaving a password trail. Tharoor is among the more prolific users of the microblogging site and commands a wide following.
The tweets appeared to be directed towards Mehr, who was formerly the op-ed editor of Pakistani paper Daily Times. Some of the tweets read, “@mehrtarar I love you. Shashi Tharoor. And I go while in love with you. Irrevocably. Irreversibly. Hamesha. Bleeding, but always your Mehr,” and also, “Sadly my wife @sptvrock (Sunanda Pushkar’s twitter handle) who gave up everything for me found out about my affair with you Mehr.” These tweets were removed by 6.30 pm.
The bogus tweets from Tharoor’s hacked account continued about how, “I’m not crying any more. I’m not falling to pieces. I’m more lucid than ever. How little I knew you became visible to me @mehrtarar,” and finally concluded with, “You unfollowed me. You don’t RT me and you don’t answer me on twitter. I have your personal validation of my words. I don’t need any public one. For that I will wait until we are together publically.”
The tweets weren’t put out in quick succession but over 26 minutes, during which each tweet was retweeted over 500 times.
Understandably, Mehr Tarar was surprised with all the traffic coming her way when she tweeted back, “Okay. What’s going on? Who’s tweeting to me? I had an ‘affair’ with Shashi Tharoor and he’s tweeting to me??? How does that work?” The angst continued to build as more people began jibing her about the tweets and she finally said that she “respects” Tharoor greatly.
It would also appear that Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar’s account may have also been hacked as she sent an inflammatory message to Mehr about how she was a “horrible woman” who was “stalking her husband”. However, she did not clarify whether her account remained safe.