The Lucknow passport officer, who was accused of bigotry while dealing with the applications papers of an interfaith couple, has broken his silence for the first time.
Vikas Mishra made a desperate appeal to everyone stating that he was not communal. “I myself have done an inter-caste marriage. I am not communal and respect and sit with people of all religion,” Mishra was quoted by Times of India.
He went on to add, “She (Tanvi Seth) was showing nikahnama that had her name as ‘Shazia Anas’ but had said on documents that she has not changed her name Why did she not endorse this on paper? I asked her to endorse her ‘nikah’ name, but she said she did not want to do that, which is when I sent her to the higher official,” said Mishra.
Mishra was on Thursday transferred after Tanvi and her Muslim husband Anas Siddiqui alleged that the officer had asked the latter to convert to Hinduism.
The issue had snowballed into a raging controversy after one Mohammad Anas Siddiqui complained of being humiliated by the passport officer, identified as Vikas Mishra, when he visited the passport office to get the passports for himself and his Hindu wife Tanvi Seth renewed.
Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj too was contacted on Twitter. The ministry of external affairs has also sought a report from the Lucknow office about the unsavoury episode from yesterday.
Regional Passport Office in Lucknow had promised to investigate the matter thoroughly. It had said, “We assure proper investigation and appropriate action. We will contact you tomorrow positively.”
“We regret the incident and will ensure it is not repeated,” said Lucknow’s regional passport officer Piyush Verma, said ANI. HNe added, “We have also sent the report to the Ministry of External Affairs for further action.”
On Thursday, the passport office tweeted the photo of passports being delivered to the couple. It said, “As promised, Regional Passport Officer met Mrs Tanvi and Mr Anas and redressed the concern today. Passports have been delivered.”
After getting her passport, Tanvi said, “We hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else. In the 11 years of our marriage, we never faced such a situation. The officials have apologised and we got our passports.”