Lucknow: An inter-faith couple who had applied for their passports in Lucknow, were allegedly humiliated and shamed by a passport officer before he rejecting their application. The couple then tweeted their ordeal to Union Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Prime Minister’s Office and sought her intervention.
Mohammad Anas Siddiqui, who married Tanvi Seth in 2007 in Lucknow and has a six-year-old daughter, applied for both of their passports on June 19 and took an appointment for June 20 at the Passport Office in Lucknow.
On the day of the appointment, the couple cleared the first two stages of the interview at counters A and B but problem started at counter C where one has to interact with an official.
Speaking to News18, Anas said, “My wife’s turn came before me and as soon as she reached counter C5, an officer named Vikas Mishra started to go through her documents. When he read the spouse’s name as Mohd Anas Siddiqui, he started shouting at my wife and said that she should not have married me. My wife broke into tears, after which Mr Mishra said that she should get all the documents corrected with a changed name.”
“My wife, Tanvi, said that we don’t want to change the name and our family doesn’t have a problem with our names. Then the passport officer asked her to go to the APO office and that he is sending her file to the APO. Mr Mishra then called me and started humiliating me. He said that I will have to convert to Hinduism else my marriage won’t be accepted. You have to take the pheras and get converted to our religion, will you do so?” narrated an angry Anas, who is working with a multi-national company along with his wife in Noida.
“Next, we went to RPO Vijay Dwivedi and the first thing that he told us was that we approached the wrong counter. The APO was apologetic and asked us to write to the grievance cell with all that had happened with us,” said Anas. The couple later tweeted the entire issue to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and asked for her intervention.
In her tweet to Sushma Swaraj, Tanvi wrote, “Hello Ma'am, I type this tweet with immense faith in justice and in you and ironically with a lot of anger/hurt and agony in my heart because of the way I was treated at the Lucknow passport office at Ratan Square by Mr Vikas Mishra the reason because I married a Muslim and not changed my name ever. He spoke to me very rudely and was loud enough for others to hear while discussing my case. I have never felt so harassed ever before. The other workers at the office acknowledged his rude demeanour (sic).”
In another tweet, Tanvi Seth added: “Sushma Swaraj Ma’am I have never imagined that in a place like passport office we would have a people who are moral policing the citizens. He didn’t just put my passport on hold he even put my husband’s passport on hold. This is a clear grudge. I was shocked at this behavior. I have never felt so insulted in the last 12 years of my marriage with my husband. It is my personal choice to choose a name I want to after my marriage. This is our family matter and the last thing I expected to hear at the passport office was it is your duty to change your name after marriage. The person who spoke to my husband later said of your wife’s case would have been come to me there wouldn’t have been issues because her papers are complete.”