The curious case of Tanvi Seth, Mohammad Anas Siddiqui and Vikas Mishra

A Hindu-Muslim couple who had applied for their passports in Lucknow, were allegedly humiliated and shamed by a passport officer and later he rejected their application. The couple later tweeted the whole incident to Union Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Prime Minister’s Office and appealed for intervention.

Mohammad Anas Siddiqui and his wife Tanvi Seth, alleged that an officer named Vikas Mishra asked Anas to convert to Hinduism, instructed Tanvi to change her name in all her documents and yelled at her when she refused to do so.

A day later, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has promised “appropriate action” against the MEA employee and handed over their passports. A resident of Aminabad area of Lucknow, Anas married Tanvi in 2007. They have a six-year-old daughter. The couple work in a private firm in Noida, and had gone to Lucknow on June 10.

“Tanvi was called first to counter C where an officer named Vikas Mishra looked at her documents. When he saw my name under the spouse category on the documents, he asked Tanvi to change her name or her application would be rejected. When Tanvi refused to do the same, Mishra started shouting at her in front of everyone. When Tanvi broke down, Mishra asked her to go and meet the assistant passport officer (APO),” said Mohammad Anas Siddiqui.

Siddiqui said, “I was told I should change my religion and take ‘pheras’. We have all legal documents to apply for a passport. We had tweeted to Sushma Swaraj ma’am and we were asked to meet an officer at the regional passport office. I am thankful to the officials for taking up the matter.”

“It was a humiliating experience. The officer was very loud and made attacking hand gestures.”, said Tanvi Seth.

The Regional Passport Office, Lucknow earlier clarified that the passports of the inter-faith couple have been issued, adding that strict action will be taken. “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 officer told media.

“We hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else. In 11 years of marriage, we never faced this. Officials later apologised to us and we got our passports,” she said.

But now, new details seem to have emerged regarding the case. Vikas Mishra, the passport official has alleged, “I asked Tanvi Seth to get the name ‘Shadia Anas’ endorsed as it was mentioned on her Nikahnama (marriage contract), but she refused. We have to do thorough checks to ensure no person is changing their name to obtain a passport,”

The officer had also claimed that in her application, Tanvi Seth did not mention that she is know by any other name (‘Shadia Anas’). He said that the couple had come to Lucknow from Noida to get their passport done on a short leave and they got agitated when he raised an objection.

It was reported that the passport official Vikas Mishra was transferred to another location as part of punitive measures by the authorities in the case. Unfortunately there are few unanswered questions in this case which requires through investigation:-

  • Why did the couple who were working in Noida, apply for a passport in Lucknow?
  • As alleged by the passport official Vikas Mishra, did Tanvi Seth try to hide her other name, Shadia Anas as per the Nikahnama?
  • Why did Tanvi Seth suggest in her tweet to Sushma Swaraj, “married a Muslim and not changed my name ever her name”, when the official Vikas Mishra alleged that her Nikahnama had a different name altogether? What is the truth?
  • Will Tanvi Seth provide any proof that she has never changed her name in the past?
  • As per a video posted by the Youtube channel, UttarPradesh Org, an eyewitness suggested that there was no misbehaviour from the passport official Vikas Mishra. If this was the case then why did Tanvi Seth suggest that the passport official misbehaved with her?

  • Few twitter celebrities like Anshul Saxena (@AskAnshul) and Rosy (rose_k01) had alleged that Taniv Seth has now deleted some of the tweets in which she has alleged mistreatment by the passport official Vikas Mishra. She has infact now protected her twitter account (@tanvianas), preventing anyone from seeing her tweets. If these allegations are true, why did she protect her account? What is she trying to hide?

  • Last but now the least, why was the passport official Vikas Mishra not given an opportunity to explain his side of the story? What was the need to transfer him with just  a Media trial? Will the Ministry of External Affairs explain their stance?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SatyaVijayi