A day after an official at the Lucknow Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) allegedly harassed an inter-faith couple, he was transferred to Gorakhpur Thursday following directives from the Centre. Vikas Mishra, the transferred official, has also been showcaused.
Tanvi Seth and Mohammad Anas Siddiqui on Wednesday claimed Mishra misbehaved with them — asking her to change her name and him to convert to Hinduism. “I did not misbehave and neither did I ask them to change name or religion,” said Mishra on Thursday. “When the woman came to me at counter C-5, I found that she had identified herself as Tanvi Seth in her application, but her nikahnaama identified her as Shadia Anas.” While applying for passport, applicants are asked whether they had ever changed their name. “She had selected the option ‘no’ in it,” said Mishra.
According to MEA rules, married applicants would not be required to provide any marriage certificate. “But I could not overlook two different names when there were documents before me,” said Mishra. “I asked her to mention the change in her application, but she refused. Then I asked her to talk to my senior… I would be held responsible if I grant a wrong passport. What if she already has a passport in the name of Shadia Anas, or if she applies for one in the future? I even asked her husband to accompany her to my senior’s office to get it sorted.”
Meanwhile, a man named Kuldeep Singh from Lucknow backed the official’s claim. According to Kuldeep, he witnessed the incident around 1PM, which, according to several PSK employees, is around the time the alleged argument was heard.
“I recognised them from news reports. I was at counter C-2,” said Kuldeep. “They were talking about her name. The official said there was nothing he could do and that she should talk to the APO. He consulted his colleague who suggested that he not grant the passport from his end. The officer did not misbehave but the woman was loud and tried to get her way.”
Kuldeep claimed Anas, who was at another counter, was directed to Mishra who asked them to meet the APO. Asked for proof of his presence, Kuldeep showed an SMS purportedly confirming his appointment at 10.30 AM, and another he received after completing the process. Mohammad Anas Siddiqui refused to speak on the issue. The couple received their new passports on Thursday.