New Delhi/Lucknow: Several different identities of the woman in the ‘inter-faith’ couple, from which documents substantiating her name were sought, have emerged. Meanwhile, a prima facie inquiry conducted by a Hindi news channel revealed that the man in the couple was never asked to change his religion at the passport office.
Viral Sach conducted by @abpnewstv on claim that passport officer in Lucknow asked a Muslim man to change his religion. They found the claim unsubstantiated. Playing the system by using outrage? Sad https://t.co/lQmXAuaH56
— Padmaja joshi (@PadmajaJoshi) June 23, 2018
The woman demanded that the name in her passport be Tanvi Seth. However, her nikahnama bore the name Shadia Hassan.
Vikas Mishra, the passport official who has been transferred to Gorakhpur in a move that is being seen as a punishment rendered to him for performing his duty, said he had reported the discrepancy in the woman’s record immediately to the higher authority.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj drew a lot of flak from Twitter users for ordering action against Mishra in haste, responding to Tanvi/Shadia’s tweet.
I strongly feel Passport Officer #VikasMishra in Lucknow has a right to investigate all the papers & question the passport holder. Hw do we know that their allegations are true. ? To create pressure to obtain the passport they can speak a lie also. @SushmaSwaraj @myogiadityanath
— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) June 21, 2018
The regional passport office has issued a statement saying, “We regret the incident and will ensure it is not repeated.”
Mishra denies the charge that he had misbehaved with the couple, let alone ask the man to change his religion. “Balki who ham par chillai thi (rather, she — Tanvi-turned-Shadia — had shouted at me),” he said.
“We have to decide (whether or not to issue an applicant his/her passport) in accordance with the Passport Act manual,” Mishra said.
The man in the controversial couple, Mohammad Anas Siddiqui, had said, “I was told I should change my religion and take ‘pheras’.” The woman had said, “We hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else. In 11 years of marriage, we never faced this. Later, the officials apologised and we got our passports.”
“We have to do thorough checks to ensure no person is changing the name to obtain a passport,” Mishra said.
The official alleged that there was an anomaly in the address of the couple, too. He said they were residents of Noida and, hence, they should have applied for the passport at the Ghaziabad passport office. Instead, he said, the couple claimed to be residents of Lucknow. “Woh false declaration de rahi thi,” Mishra said about the woman.
Watch this video. This is what the officer at Lucknow passport office has to say. If this is 'bigotry' and 'hate' and 'harassment' and 'offensive', we should be afraid, very afraid, of the perpetually outraged. We live in truly #DangerousTimes. https://t.co/Um89XecKHU
— Kanchan Gupta (@KanchanGupta) June 22, 2018
Mishra explained that certain steps in the passport application form are system-generated. “You can check our website. If you have checked the entry, ‘Have you ever changed your name?’ you are asked your older and new names. But this lady was not ready to let us enter her post-marriage name ‘Shadia Hassan’, which is her present name according to her nikahnama, in the passport.”