Inter-faith couple passport row: Officer asked irrelevant questions on religion, says probehttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/inter-faith-couple-passport-row-officer-asked-irrelevant-questions-on-religion-says-probe-5246252/

Inter-faith couple passport row: Officer asked irrelevant questions on religion, says probe

On June 20, Mohammad Anas Siddiqui and Tanvi Seth, who have been married for 12 years, tweeted that they were humiliated by the passport officer, Vikas Mishra, when they visited the passport office in Lucknow.

Passport row: Officer asked irrelevant questions on religion
Mohammad Anas Siddiqui and Tanvi Seth show their passports issued to them by the Regional Passport Office in Lucknow on Thursday. (Source: PTI)

WEEKS AFTER an interfaith couple alleged harassment at the passport office in Lucknow, an internal probe by the government has found that the passport officer asked irrelevant questions regarding their religion.

Sources said the Uttar Pradesh Police report that the couple don’t live at the address mentioned in their passport application was also “irrelevant”.

On June 20, Mohammad Anas Siddiqui and Tanvi Seth, who have been married for 12 years, tweeted that they were humiliated by the passport officer, Vikas Mishra, when they visited the passport office in Lucknow. They alleged that they were targeted because of their interfaith marriage.

The next day, the Regional Passport Office (RPO) transferred Mishra to Gorakhpur and issued passports to the couple. The couple had tagged External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who was trolled on Twitter after Mishra was transferred.

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The internal probe has found that the officer was wrong in asking the couple questions about their religion.

In their report to the RPO on June 26, the local police said Seth had been living in Noida for the last one year, and not Lucknow as mentioned in her passport application.

But sources said that under the new rules, the police verification is aimed at ascertaining only two things — that the applicant is a citizen of India, and that he/ she doesn’t have a criminal record. “The address proof is substantiated with a document, as prescribed in the Passport Act and subsequent rules,” said a source.

Since the couple were able to produce all those documents, and their “citizenship” and “clean record” were established by the local police, their passports were cleared, said sources.