It seems like the controversy surrounding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Kerala-Somalia comparison is not going to die down soon as BJP chief Amit Shah has ended up getting more embarrassment for the party.
On May 14, 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. He then flashed a copy of an old Outlook magazine which was dated July, 2013 and had a cover story on the death of tribal children of malnutrition in Kerala.
Titled as God’s Own Curse, the cover story explored the condition of tribals in Kerala, especially in Attapady near Palakkad district. The cover photo of the magazine had an image of an malnourished child being held in someone’s arm.
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.
The photo was taken from 2009 US State Department Report to Congress on “Incidents During the Recent Conflicts in Sri Lanka.”
The image was actually taken on May 6, 2009, in the No Fire Zone in Sri Lanka, a territory declared as a safe area for civilians some months before the conclusion of the Sri Lankan army’s assault on the LTTE. However, Outlook magazine on its cover used a cropped portion of the image with the caption at the bottom: “A 3-month-old infant at a camp in Attapady before he passed away.”
It seems like with this Shah has also cause unintended embarrassment for the magazine.