If Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark comparing Kerala to Somalia has not hurt the BJP in the state enough, there’s more agony in store for the saffron party.
On Saturday, when party boss Amit Shah held a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram to defend the PM’s remarks, he flashed a copy of an Outlook magazine dated July, 2013 that did a cover story on the death of tribal children of malnutrition in Kerala’s Attapady. It was supposed to be Shah’s way of vindicating the Prime Minister’s statement that not all is well among tribal communities in Kerala, a state that has done well in social and human development indicators.
But a news website, called Narada, has reported that the photograph on the Outlook cover that shows a woman holding a malnourished child is in fact, not from Kerala but from Sri Lanka. The photograph reportedly finds a place in a 2009 US State Department report to Congress on ‘Incidents during the Recent Conflicts in Sri Lanka’.
This point had been doing the rounds on social media for a couple of days now.
— Tino Thomas (@Tman_tino) May 12, 2016
The report, that the Indian Express has accessed, shows the photograph on page 64 in which it is captioned ‘Photo taken on May 6 of a malnourished baby in the NFZ’. Reportedly, the photograph was taken in Vanni in Sri Lanka in 2009 during the country’s bloody war against the militant LTTE.
However, on the 2013 Outlook cover, the photograph is captioned ‘A 3-month old infant at a camp in Attapady before he passed away’.
If the Narada news report is true, then both Outlook magazine and the BJP will have to clarify on the issue.