New Delhi: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Rajiv Tuli has sought “justice” for a passport officer in Lucknow who was transferred for allegedly humiliating and shaming an inter-faith couple before rejecting their application.
Tuli, who is the Delhi RSS Prachar Pramukh, took to Twitter on Friday to say “there is a world apart from the victim card and having connections with higher-ups” and Vikas Mishra, the officer in question, should get “justice”.
Asking external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to give Mishra a chance to explain his side of the story, Tuli said even the minister “was not above the law” and a fair investigation should be conducted.
विकास मिश्रा को न्याय मिलने चाहिए। विक्टिम कार्ड और ऊपर तक पहुंच इससे इतर भी दुनिया है। @SushmaSwaraj आप काननों से ऊपर नहीं हैं। आशा है आप अपने इस अधिकारी की बात भी सुनेंगी। और पूरे मामले की जांच होगी https://t.co/cFaCSaoNY0— rajiv tuli (@rajivtuli69) 22 June 2018
However, Tuli later said he had tweeted in his personal capacity and not as part of the RSS. "My tweet has got nothing to do with RSS... My only submission is proper probe should be done," he said.
The issue came to the limelight when Mohammad Anas Siddiqui, who married Tanvi Seth in 2007, applied for both of their passports on June 19 and took an appointment for June 20 at the passport office in Lucknow. On the day of the appointment, the couple cleared the first two stages of the interview at counters A and B but problem started at counter C where one has to interact with an official.
Speaking to News18, which broke the news first, Anas said, “My wife’s turn came before me and as soon as she reached counter C5, an officer named Vikas Mishra started to go through her documents. When he read the spouse’s name as Mohd Anas Siddiqui, he started shouting at her and said she should not have married me. My wife broke into tears, after which Mr Mishra said that she should get all the documents corrected with a changed name.”
“My wife, Tanvi, said we don’t want to change the name and our family doesn’t have a problem with our names. Then the passport officer asked her to go to the APO office and that he is sending her file to the APO. Mr Mishra then called me and started humiliating me. He said that I will have to convert to Hinduism else my marriage won’t be accepted. He asked, ‘You have to take the ‘pheras’ and get converted to our religion, will you do so?’” narrated an angry Anas, who is working with a multi-national company along with his wife in Noida.
“Next, we went to RPO Vijay Dwivedi and the first thing that he told us was that we had approached the wrong counter. The APO was apologetic and asked us to write to the grievance cell narrating the entire incident,” said Anas. The couple later tweeted to Swaraj and sought her intervention.
The ministry of external affairs on Thursday transferred and served a show cause notice to Mishra.
Mishra, who was transferred to Gorakhpur, claimed on Thursday that the questions asked were a part of his duty as difference in documents could pose a “danger to national security”. Talking to News18, he said, “I asked the lady about why she has not endorsed her name in the nikahnama, and asked her to use the name she had mentioned in the Islamic marriage certificate. Anyone can come up with such documents and it can be a danger to our national security. I am a secular person and do not hold any grudges against anyone.”
Expressing regret over the inconvenience faced by the couple, Regional Passport Officer Peeyush Verma said they should not have been subjected to such harassment. “As all the documents of the couple were complete, we have delivered the passports to them today itself,” Verma said. “Religion of the applicant does not matter at all while applying for a passport,” he said.