Vikas Mishra, a passport official, accused of humiliating an interfaith couple in Lucknow, has alleged that it was Tanvi Seth who had not complied with the rules for obtaining an Indian passport.
On Wednesday, Seth accused Mishra of humiliating her and her husband, Mohammad Anas Siddiqui, when they went to apply for passports at the Passport Sewa Kendra in Lucknow's Ratan Square.
After being transferred from Lucknow to Gorakhpur on Thursday, Mishra told the media that Seth's name in her Nikahnamma is Shadia Anas. According to the rules, Mishra said, he had to ask her whether she had changed her name.
There is a specific question which requires applicants to declare if they have ever changed their names, he said.
"She was showing nikahnama that had her name as 'Shadia Anas' but had said on documents that she has not changed her name. Why did she not endorse this on paper? I asked her to endorse her 'nikah' name, but she said she did not want to do that, which is when I sent her to the higher official," he said, The Times of India reported.
Mishra allegedly rejected the application of an interfaith couple, and asked the husband, Siddiqui, to convert to Hinduism.
Mishra denied saying, "It is a duty for a woman to get her name changed after marriage" or telling the Siddiqui that he should "convert to Hinduism."
"I myself have done an inter-caste marriage. I am not communal and respect and sit with people of all religions," he said.
On Thursday, in a series of tweets directed at External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Seth, who married Siddiqui in 2007, described how she and her husband were allegedly shamed by Mishra. The official was transferred on Friday and the couple granted passports.
Referring to the passport officer, Seth wrote, "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....He dint just put my passport on hold he even put my husband's passport on hold."
In an email to Swaraj, Seth said that the passport officer told her there was a problem with her file because she retained had her maiden name after marrying a Muslim. She quoted him as saying: "Aapke saath to masla hai. Aapne Muslim se shaadi ki hai to aapka naam Tanvi Seth kaisai ho sakta hai?"
"I have two asks mam, please help me and my husband get our passports issued and also take action against Mr. Mishra," she wrote. "What has happened to me today should not happen to other women like me/citizen."
The Twitter timelines of both Seth and Siddiqui are no longer available for general viewing.
@SushmaSwaraj 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 marri 1/2— Tanvi Seth (@tanvianas) June 20, 2018
@SushmaSwaraj 2/2 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.— Tanvi Seth (@tanvianas) June 20, 2018
@SushmaSwaraj Ma'am I never ever imagined that in a place like passport office we would have a people who are moral policing the citizens. He dint just put my passport on hold he even put my husband's @5220manas passport on hold. This is clear grudge. I was shocked at this 1/2— Tanvi Seth (@tanvianas) June 20, 2018
@SushmaSwaraj behaviour. 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 marriage. This is our family matter and last thing I expected to hear at the passport office was 2/3— Tanvi Seth (@tanvianas) June 20, 2018
Siddiqui told News 18 that Mishra not only humiliated him and his wife over the issuing of passports, but he also told him to convert to Hinduism.
"When he read the spouse's name as Mohd Anas Siddiqui, he started shouting at her 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," he said.
Siddiqui also told the news portal, "He said that I will have to convert to Hinduism else my marriage won't be accepted. He asked, 'You have to take the pheras and get converted to our religion, will you do so?'"