A Kerala college student, who was trolled on social media after her story of selling fish to support her family went viral, has received the backing of Union minister Alphons Kannanthanam.

Hanan, 21, sells fish after college hours. Her story appeared in Mathrubhumi Malayalam daily. Later, the article went viral on social media with politicians, film personalities and several others sharing it on Facebook and Twitter. She is a BSc student at a private college in Thodupuzha.

The student was trolled when many started questioning the story and termed it “fake”.

However, Hanan's college principal and neighbours came out in support of her and said the story published in the regional daily was true.

Reacting to the news, Union Minister of State for Tourism, Kannanthanam defended the girl and blasted “Kerala sharks”. The Rajya Sabha member, who is from Kerala, said, he was “ashamed”.

On his Facebook page, he wrote, “Kerala sharks stop attacking #Hanan. I'm ashamed. Here is a girl trying to put together a shattered life. You vultures!.”

The tourism minister hailed the woman's attitude to do hard work and move forward in life.

Kannanthanam also referred to the difficulties faced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his teenage and said the latter fought against all odds to become the prime minister.

A teary-eyed Hanan appealed her critics with folded hands to leave her alone.

“I do not want any help. Kindly leave me alone and allow me to do any kind of menial jobs to earn my daily bread," she said.

Kerala Women's Commission chairperson M C Josephine said she would visit Hanan in Kochi.

Any sort of attack on such a hardworking woman is condemnable, she said.

Hearing Hanan's story, a filmmaker, Arun Gopy, offered her a role in his forthcoming movie starring Malayalam superstar Mohanlal's son Pranav Mohanlal (pictured above, left).

The trolls also targeted the filmmaker for such an offer, but Gopy remained firm on the offer.