Lucknow's interfaith couple Tanvi Seth and Anas Siddiqui finally had their passports cleared after a passport officer in the city was stated wrong in asking them inapt questions about their religion.
Lucknow’s interfaith couple Tanvi Seth and Anas Siddiqui finally had their passports cleared after a passport officer in the city was stated wrong in asking them inapt questions about their religion. An internal government probe has found that Vikas Mishra, the Lucknow passport officer, was wrong in asking the couple irrelevant questions about their religion when they visited his office with their applications for the document. As per a PTI report, an internal government probe has found that the passport official in Lucknow and the police there had exceeded their brief by asking “irrelevant” questions
As per the passport official, two issues stood out in her application. First, according to Mishra, the applicant had different names in different documents and second, the address mentioned in the application was Lucknow’s Qaiserbagh, which was later found that police did not find any proof that Tanvi had been residing there. Mishra had questioned that Tanvi, who allegedly said that she lived in Noida, did not approach the passport office in that city.
While the first charge — of a different name — was found untrue, the second charge was made untenable after the new rules were introduced as per PTI report. No criminal records have been found against the two.
On June 20, Anas Siddiqui and Tanvi Seth alleged harassment by an official at the Lucknow Passport Seva Kendra (PSK). They had claimed that Vikas Mishra who is a senior superintendent and a granting officer, harassed them over the woman’s name. Mishra had allegedly also asked the man to convert to Hinduism, and her to change her name in all her documents. He allegedly shouted at her when she refused to do so. The MEA has also examined the police verification report of Seth and found that they too overstepped in finding out irrelevant details about the couple.
Notably, the Ministry of External Affairs in June released a new set of rules that made applying for passports easier for citizens. A key change brought in the existing provisions was that the police report only on six points related to criminal antecedents and citizenship.
As per the revised procedure, the police only needs to check whether an applicant is involved in any criminal activity and whether he or she is a bona fide Indian citizen or not.
On June 21, Vikas Mishra was transferred to Gorakhpur following directives from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Vikas, however, claimed he had done no wrong and was simply following protocol. He said that the woman was asked to change her name on passport documents as she carries a different name on her Nikaahnama (the document of marriage in Islam). Mishra said that he asked Tanvi to get the name ‘Shadia Anas’ endorsed, as mentioned on her Nikahnama. “Asked Tanvi Seth to get the name ‘Shadia Anas’ endorsed as it was mentioned on her Nikahnama, but she refused. We have to do thorough checks to ensure no person is changing their name to obtain a passport,” Vikas Mishra had said after a complaint was filed against him.
Union Minister Sushma Swaraj has been facing attacks from Twitter trolls after the Ministry of External Affairs transferred Vikas Mishra over Tanvi Seth-Mohammad Anas Siddiqui passport issue.