A woman who was married in another religion felt too bad about the behaviour of an employee at the regional passport office in Lucknow that she complained about the case to the External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj.
They got passports 24 hours after the couple went public with their story of communal harassment by the official.
The woman sent a number of tweets to her and then only her problem could be redressed.
Tanvi Seth is a Noida resident, who has brought it to the notice of the minister that an official of the passport office did not approve her application. He even lashed out at her for marrying a Muslim and not changing her name thereafter.
Mohammad Anas Siddiqui, her husband has explained that the ministry of external affairs employee also asked him to convert for their marriage to be accepted, as per norm, whereas there is no such norm,
The MEA issued their passports after a day when they brought the matter to the social media and promised action against the erring employee.
Seth, who is married for more than a decade had applied for a passport while her husband, a Muslim had submitted an application for a renewal of his passport.
They had been asked to appear for an interview on June 20. The process seems to go smoothly until they were directed to go to a particular counter, where it happened.
Seth expressed anger and felt hurt at the unwarranted and racial treatment meted out to them by an official at the Passport Seva Kendra in Lucknow.
The letter’s copy which was tweeted by her husband offer more details about their harassment by the official, identified as Vikas Mishra.
Incidentally, Mishra has been transferred immediately from the Lucknow office.
She said that Mr Mishra started checking papers and the moment he saw the form, he exclaimed and said that there is a glitch in your case. You have married a Muslim, then how can your name be Tanvi Seth.
She had asked the minister to educate her if there is a law that forces a woman to change her name upon getting married.
Seth was in tears when Mishra pronounced that she should not have married Anas. When she clarified that their families had no problem with this marriage, Mishra asked her to talk to her senior– the assistant passport officer (APO).
When the couple talked to the APO, he seemed sympathetic and asked to file a complaint. He said that there have been many complaints about this specific person, he says.
The couple said that there is a case of moral policing as well as an incident of religious prejudice. We were made to feel insulted and demeaned by an employee. We had never expected to be harassed like this at a government set up like this, said Seth in her complaint to the minister.
She claimed that fellow employees at the passport office also asked her to pursue the grievance since the concerned officer is known for misbehaving and rude behaviour.