An inter-faith couple, who had applied for passports, was allegedly harassed by an official at the passport office in Lucknow and asked to change his religion and take 'pheras', before rejecting their application.
Mohammad Anas Siddiqui, who married Tanvi Seth in 2007 in Lucknow and has a six-year-old daughter, later tweeted their ordeal to Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and saught her intervention in the matter.
Siddiqui said that they cleared the first two stages of the interview at counter A and B, but when her wife went to counter C for an interaction with an officer, she was shamed to marry a Muslim and asked to change her religion.
"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 her and said that she should not have married me. My wife broke into tears, after which MrMishra said that she should get all the documents corrected with a changed name," Siddiqui alleged.
Siddiqui, who works in a multi-national company in Noida along with her wife, said that the Mishra later humiliated him and asked to change his religion and take pheras in order to get the approval for the passport.
"After my wife, he then called me and started humiliating me. 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?" angry Siddiqui narrated his horror.
Passport officer Mishra, however, rebutted the allegations of the couple and said that Tanvi had changed her name to Shadiya Hasan at the time of her marriage but in passport column, she wrote her name as Tanvi Seth and that’s why he objected.
Meanwhile, Lucknow Regional Passport Officer expressed his regret on the incident and assured action against Mishra, who allegedly harassed the couple.
“Their passports have been issued. 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,” the official said.