The juicy scoop
An interfaith couple (Tanvi Seth and Mohammad Anas Siddiqui) alleged that a passport officer in Lucknow Passport Seva Kendra rejected their application. The couple further alleged that they were humiliated and harassed by the officer, identified as Vikas Mishra, who denied their application. Seth claimed that the officer shamed her in a very rude and loud manner and that even others could hear him discussing their case.
The viral social media story
Tanvi Seth and Mohammad Anas Siddiqui, the couple that was harassed took to twitter and sought action against the official. Tanvi Seth narrated her version of the incident on twitter and also tagged minister for external affairs, Sushma Swaraj to take appropriate action in the matter.
Media jumps in
Mainstream media outlets took cognizance of the incident. As they are used to, they reported only one side of the story and did not even bother to give voice to what the opposite party had to say.
Strict action was taken against the passport official and he was transferred. Even a probe was launched against him and a show cause notice was issued to him.
The perpetrator becomes the victim
The passport officer, Vikas Mishra came out defending himself. He stated that he merely asked certain questions only because there was a difference in documents which could pose a threat to “national security”. He further stated, “I asked the lady (Tanvi Seth) 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.
The wrath of disgruntled BJP supporters
The vigilant, devoted and often overenthusiastic Facebook warriors of the BJP in a completely surprising move, brought down the page ratings of Sushma Swaraj’s Facebook handle to a lowly 1.4 /5 as of now, compiled from over 33000 reviews on her Facebook page.
The baffling End
Passports of so-called interfaith couple, Tanvi Seth and Mohammad Anas Siddiqui, have been cleared. An internal probe has also come up with its findings and accused passport officer Vikas Mishra and Police for exceeding their brief by asking irrelevant questions to the couples. Vikas Mishra was wrong in asking questions related to the religion of inter-faith couple and police was wrong in seeking details about the residence of couple while conducting verification process mandatory for issuing a passport.
The Unanswered questions
First, on what grounds MEA cleared passport of Tanvi Seth when there is a mismatch of names in the documents presented by her? How come an officer who raised questions over the discrepancy in the documents is wrong? Anyone can come up with such documents and it can be a danger to our national security. Mishra was only going by the rules and doing his duty and now he is being punished for honestly doing his duty.
Second, even after mismatch in the address, on what grounds MEA gave clearance to the passport of inter-faith couple? The Police and local inspection unit, who arrived to investigate Tanvi Seth’s passport did not find any documents related to her living in Lucknow. According to rules, the applicant must have lived at the mentioned address for more than one year, but no such evidence has been found in the investigation. According to police sources, there was no evidence about Tanvi living at the said address and questioning Tanvi’s in-laws in this case didn’t prove anything as well. According to the police verification report, Tanvi Seth had been living in Noida and not Lucknow as mentioned in her application for passport. It looks like MEA again jumped the gun and issued passport in order to satisfy the ego of an arrogant minister.
Third, had Tanvi Seth not created this fake outrage on social media and the mainstream media would not have added fuel to fire by its selective outrage, would there have been any way for Tanvi Seth to get her hands on the passport as swiftly as she has? There are thousands of passport applicants who are still waiting for their passports despite having all the proper documents but still they are not getting it may be because they are unaware about the art of propaganda.