Interfaith Couple Get Passports, Accused Officer Denies Wrongdoing
“The passport officer told me my passport can’t be made because I have married a Muslim.”
Lucknow’s Regional Passport Officer on Thursday, 21 June, said that fresh passports have been issued to both Tanvi Seth and Mohammad Anas Siddiqui, who were allegedly shamed for their interfaith marriage. The accused officer has reportedly been transferred after the incident.
According to Seth, the officer asked her husband to take pheras (a custom in a Hindu traditional marriage) and convert to Hinduism to get his passport.
A show cause notice has been issued to the official who was at fault, action will also be taken. We regret the incident and will ensure it is not repeated.Regional Passport Officer, Lucknow
Officer Responds to Allegations
Meanwhile, Vikas Mishra, the officer who reportedly shamed the couple, has refuted the allegations levelled against him. Speaking to the media, he said, “Her name on the Nikahnama was Shadia Anas because of which I asked her to get it on other documents as well, but she refused.”
He also added:
We have to do thorough checks to ensure no person is changing their name to obtain a passport.Vikas Mishra
Never Been so Humiliated: Tanvi Seth
On 20 June, Tanvi and her husband, Mohammad Anas Siddiqui, went to a Regional Passport Office at Ratan Square in Lucknow, where Seth had applied for a fresh passport while her husband had applied for a reissue.
“I have never felt so humiliated in 12 years of my marriage,” says Tanvi, who alleged that she was humiliated for marrying a Muslim man.
Seth alleged that there was no issue with the application at the first two stages of verification, but the trouble started when they reached the third counter where they had to interact with an officer.
Speaking to The Quint, Seth said, “The gentleman at the counter (Vikas Mishra) looked at my documents and exclaimed, saying, “There is a problem and your passport can’t be made because apne toh ek Muslim se shaadi ki hai (you have married a Muslim man).”
“He asked me to get all my documents changed and kept shouting at the top of his voice, humiliating me,” Seth claimed.
According to Seth, the humiliation didn’t end there, as the officer called out her husband while he was waiting in the queue for his turn and told him that his passport can be made only if he takes pheras with his wife or if his wife changes her name.
As the matter escalated, Seth was sent to the Additional Passport Officer (APO), who, she said, was supportive of the couple and also advised them to file a grievance against the officer who had misbehaved with them.
Seth also told The Quint that the APO told the two that there would have been no problem with their application if any other officer had been allotted to them, as all their paperwork is complete.
She also alleges that the APO told the couple that there have been numerous complaints against the officer in the past.
The Couple Seeks Sushma Swaraj’s Intervention
In a series of tweets to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Tanvi Seth has written about her harrowing experience at the passport office and the kind of moral policing the couple was subjected to.
Seth says that the APO officer also told her that if not for the comments made by this officer in her file, her application would have been approved.
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