When an inter-faith couple tried to apply for passports in Lucknow, India, a passport officer didn’t just reject the application, he also told the wife she shouldn't have married a Muslim.
Mohammad Anas Siddiqui married Tanvi Seth in 2007, and the two have a six-year-old daughter.
Social media users were quick to react and shared Seth’s tweets with Indian Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj.
@scribe_prashant tweeted: “OUTRAGEOUS: Passport application of Hindu lady rejected for retaining her original name after marrying a Muslim man in Lucknow. Her husband says: ‘When the officer read the spouse’s name as Mohd Anas Siddiqui, he started shouting at her and said she should not have married me.’”
OUTRAGEOUS: Passport application of Hindu lady rejected for retaining her original name after marrying a Muslim man in Lucknow. Her husband says: "When the officer read the spouse’s name as Mohd Anas Siddiqui, he started shouting at her and said she should not have married me.— Prashant Kumar (@scribe_prashant) June 20, 2018
In her series of tweets earlier today, @tanvianas shared her experience, addressing it to Swaraj: “I type this tweet with immense faith in justice and in you, and ironically with a lot of anger/hurt and agony in my heart because of the way I was treated at the Lucknow passport office at Ratan Square by Mr Vikas Mishra. The reason: Because I married a Muslim and did not change my name ever. He spoke to me very rudely and was loud enough for others to hear while discussing my case. I have never felt so harassed ever before.”
@SushmaSwaraj Ma’am I never ever imagined that in a place like passport office we would have a people who are moral policing the citizens. He dint just put my passport on hold he even put my husband’s @5220manas passport on hold. This is clear grudge. I was shocked at this 1/2— Tanvi Seth (@tanvianas) June 20, 2018
@SushmaSwaraj behaviour. I have never felt so insulted in the last 12 years of my marriage with my husband. It is my personal choice to choose a name I want to after marriage. This is our family matter and last thing I expected to hear at the passport office was 2/3— Tanvi Seth (@tanvianas) June 20, 2018
@SushmaSwaraj it is your duty to change your name after marriage. The person who spoke to my husband later said if your wife’s case would have come to me there wouldn’t have been issues because her papers are complete.— Tanvi Seth (@tanvianas) June 20, 2018
She added: “This is a clear case of moral policing/religious prejudice and lack of chivalry while talking to a woman.”
Her husband shared a longer account of the incident, with his twitter handle @5220manas. In a screenshot he posted on twitter, Seth is quoted, saying: “I was made to feel absolutely insulted and demeaned by Mr Mishra, to the extent that I broke and had to use my inhaler because of breathing problems caused by excessive crying.”
@drzzzzzz commented on Seth’s tweet: “This is horrendous… whatever has happened to the idea of a diverse India?”
This is horrendous..whatever has happened to the idea of a diverse india— zaheer (@drzzzzzz) June 20, 2018
The incident represents a key moment for government officials, according to tweep @Indianlallu. He wrote: “Acid test for Minister @SushmaSwaraj @MEAIndia… will she act impartially … and sack the bigoted passport official or will she succumb to her party ideology and brush it under the carpet?”
Acid test for Twitter Minsiter @SushmaSwaraj @MEAIndia will she act impartially like @BankofAmerica and @JWMarriott and sack the bigoted passport official or will she succumb to her party ideology and brush it under the carpet https://t.co/PTQiG2L6KK— Some Perks for Samarthan (Indian Lallu) (@Indianlallu) June 20, 2018
@VivashwanSingh tweeted: “The woman could’ve converted to Islam but she chose not to and her husband respected that. What has passport officer got to do with the religion of citizens? Will @SushmaSwaraj take any action? @karunanundy @Shehla_Rashid”
@PrinceAAP: “Bigotry on the rise in ‘Secular’ India. Passport officer refuses to clear a file of an inter-faith couple. Sickening !!”
There has been no response, yet, from @SushmaSwaraj.