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Indian inter-faith couple’s ordeal ends, but tweeps don’t forgive

Passport Seva office in Lucknow, India, finally resolves Muslim-Hindu couple’s passport issues

Image Credit: @RPOLucknow/Twitter
The @RPOLucknow twitter account tweeted this picture of Anas Siddiqui receiving his passport
Gulf News

Dubai: Tweeps force Indian government to take ‘secular’ action. Inter-faith couple Tanvi Seth and Mohammad Anas Siddiqui’s ordeal at Lucknow’s Passport Seva Kendra office has ended, after Indians rallied on Twitter, demanding justice for the way they were treated.

A passport officer had rejected the couple’s passport application, instead asking the husband to “convert to Hinduism and take pheras [Hindu mariage ritual]".

Seth wrote about the experience on twitter, addressing it to Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs of India. Tweeps began retweeting her, and asked the Minister to take action.

Their appeals worked. The Consular, Passport and Visa Division, @RPOLucknow, responded last evening to Seth’s tweet: “We assure proper investigation and appropriate action. We will contact you tomorrow positively.”

Sure enough, Seth tweeted earlier this morning, expressing her satisfaction with the resolution: “Since the time we walked into the RPO office this morning we were treated very well by Mr Piyush Verma and all the officials. They apologised for the misconduct of the official yesterday. They looked at our documents and issued passports to us in no time. The way we have been treated today has been reflective of the impression we had about the Ministry of External Affairs. They have been absolutely empathetic and caring about the way we felt....”

She thanked Swaraj and the Passport Seva officials for taking swift action.

Seth further tweeted: “Thank you for the timely action and understanding towards our feelings and issue. I am extremely satisfied with what has happened.”

While Seth and Siddiqui went home relieved, some tweeps were less forgiving. They demanded accountability from the government.

@shantihp wrote: “And what action has been taken against the erring official?”

@parthagee said: “What about the officer who denied them? What punishment did he receive?”

Indian news website The Quint reported that the accused officer has been transferred after the incident.

@ShvetPatra reacted to @RPOLucknow’s tweet, which stated they had resolved the issue: “What is the big deal about it? That’s your job and you were expected to do that in the first place. Will you dare to terminate that officer without any compensation?”

@saurabh2910 wrote: “By doing this, you covered up only 5% of the requisite action. 95% balance require immediate suspension of the officer at fault, proper enquiry with all previous references and at last, termination from services with compensation to victims.”

Others were a bit more sarcastic and asked for more training and education for government officials, so the incident doesn’t recur.

@amitgupta301279 wrote: “Problem solved, good. However, the larger questions is when will the attitude of babus holding chairs in #passport office will change? Why not a counselling session for such people to check their mental health and to make a report card of behaviour?”

@tweetasifpatel wrote: “Good job RPO, request you to ensure that such events don’t occur in future. Public servants cannot do moral policing while executing their duty.”

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