Not so long ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Somalia jibe in Kerala had made him the subject of widespread criticism with social media users slamming him for comparing God’s Own Country to a severely underdeveloped African nation.
Faced with unprecedented outrage, the BJP’s national president, Amit Shah recently, made desperate attempts to defend Modi on his Somalia comments.
But, while doing so, he appears to have caused more embarrassment to himself, his party and a reputed magazine.
On Saturday (yesterday), Shah launched a counter offensive by saying that the prime minister was, after all, right in describing the infant mortality in Kerala as worse than Somalia.
Shah said that Modi was not comparing Kerala with Somalia, but had only highlighted the actual living conditions of the tribals.
Shah relied on many media reports to make his point. This also included a report of Outlook magazine, which had carried a cover story in its July 2013 issue.
Titled as God’s Own Curse, the cover story explored the condition of tribals in Kerala, especially in Attapadi near Palakkad district.
But, what Shah didn’t realise that the magazine he was relying on had mistakenly used the photo of children’s plight in north Sri Lanka during its civil war.
It now appears that the photo used by magazine was not from Kerala but from Sri Lanka and taken from 2009 US State Department Report to Congress on “Incidents During the Recent Conflicts in Sri Lanka.”
The photo used by Outlook was actually taken in May 2009 from Sri Lanka.
The social media users have begun attacking Shah for using a photo, which was allegedly fabricated from the beginning.
It seems, Shah’s action has also cause unintended embarrassment for a reputed magazine, otherwise known for its hard-hitting journalism.
The Delhi based magazine appeared to have used the photo of the mother and child on the cover to add to the visual impact of the story.
The magazine had not included the cover photo inside the report, where it used pictures from various tribal hamlets in Kerala.