LUCKNOW: When Tanvi Seth and her husband Anas Siddiqui reached the PassportSewa Kendra at Ratan Square on Wednesday they had little idea of the ordeal that was to follow. “When I reached counter C5, the official, Vikas Mishra, told me there was an issue with my file since I had married a Muslim, and yet retained my maiden name. He shouted at me and insulted me in front of everyone and sent me to the office of an additional passport officer, who was sympathetic to me and asked me to reach the main branch in Gomtinagar on Thursday,” Tanvi, who has a six-year-old daughter with Anas, told TOI.
Tanvi said her documents were complete, yet her file was stopped. The official called out Anas’s name and insulted him, too. “He told Anas to convert to Hinduism for his passport to be renewed. This is a case of moral policing and religious prejudice. I was made to feel insulted; I broke down,” she said in a tweet addressed to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
In a five-part tweet to the minister, and also in an email to her, Tanvi Seth narrated her ordeal that they had to go through at the passport office, claiming that she was asked to “change her name as is the duty of all girls after marriage” and her husband Anas Siddiqui was asked to “convert to Hinduism and take pheras” for getting his passport renewed.
When asked, Regional Passport Officer Peeyush Verma told TOI: “The incident has happened and the couple will be coming to the office in Gomtinagar in Lucknow on Thursday. I will look into the matter and take appropriate action.”
Tanvi wrote to Swaraj: “I tweet this 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 married a Muslim and not changed my name ever.”
She also tweeted, “I 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.”
Vijay Dwivedi, the additional private secretary to Swaraj, asked DM Mulay, the secretary to passport, visa and overseas Indian affairs at MEA, to look into the issue. Mulay later replied to Tanvi, “I sought report from regional passport office Lucknow. Will take appropriate action.”