Passport officer shunted out by Sushma Swaraj for doing his duty.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, more popularly known as Minister For Social Media Response, should stop succumbing to Twitter and storms that Twitterati create. Any small issue and people tweet Sushma and she immediately, sometimes not knowing what the facts are, jumps into the fray. Most of the times she is right, but occasionally she slips.
A case in point is how Lucknow passport officer Vikas Mishra was shunted out for doing his duty. He may have erred, but the minister should have first ordered an enquiry to find out the truth rather than pandering to folks on social media. Ministers like Sushma Swaraj should be well above watermarks of controversy.
In now looks that Mishra was doing his duty. Any small discrepancy in the name of an applicant and the passport gets rejected. That is for folks like you and me. But when Tanvi Seth sent a series of tweets that her application was rejected because she married a Muslim, a storm was triggered on Twitter and Twitterati went about like headless chicken. As is her wont, External Affairs Minister caped the storm by the easiest method: kick out Mishra. The storm subsided.
Not that Mishra did no wrong. Nobody knows the truth. But principles of natural justice says it is compulsory to hear the other side too. And on the other side is Mishra. There were CCTV cameras all around to find out what transpired.
In denying him a chance to explain, the controversy over the inter-faith couple has taken a new twist. Now the UP police say that the duo’s credentials, including their past names, have to be looked into. They want all details to be verified thoroughly following a request from MEA. This could have been done before. For a few brownie points, Sushma seems to have crucified an officer under her ministry.
Had this happened in any other country, there would have been an enquiry first. Now even honest officers would become scared.
Tanvi Seth and her husband Anas Siddique had alleged that Mishra had refused to entertain their forms while allegedly asking the man to convert to Hinduism and woman to use her maiden Hindu name.
The local intelligence unit (LIU) in Lucknow confirmed it has received a single page correspondence regarding their verification on Friday.
“We received the correspondence from the passport office in Lucknow on Friday. The present address and temporary address of both applicants will be duly verified. The LIU will submit in report only after due diligence,” said Radhey Shyam, CO, LIU. The LIU confirmed that their names and antecedents will be checked like all other passport applicants.