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Use of Muslim girls’ photo not a 'faux pas', only symbolic: BJP
Sunday, June 13, 2010 11:33:27 AM, Agencies
Modi's pro-Muslim ad in Bihar dailies questioned: A full page colour advertisement in local dailies in Bihar projecting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra..... Read Full
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government on Saturday refused to admit that it was a faux pas to use a picture of Muslim girls of an Azamgarh college in its advertisements, which it placed in Patna newspapers on Thursday before Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s visit there for the BJP national meet.
State Health Minister and government spokesperson Jay Narayan Vyas said the picture was used only “symbolically” to show how Muslim women in Gujarat are progressing.
As the US-based news portal, www.twocircles.net, which owned that photograph, has said that it was considering suing Gujarat government for copyright violations, Vyas said the government would deal with the matter legally.
He alleged that the issue is being debated by “anti-BJP propaganda machines” to divert people’s attention from the Bhopal tragedy and the Anderson issue that has created a crisis within and outside the Congress.
Asked why the government chose to insert ads in Bihar newspapers when the issues discussed in them pertained to Gujarat, he said the message had to go out across the nation because Muslims in Gujarat were faring better than in any other state. He said the state government would have released the ads in newspapers of any other state if the BJP meet was being held there.
About the other ad showing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar holding Modi’s hand (the ad has reportedly provoked Nitish Kumar to threaten legal action against those responsible for it) Vyas said it was put out by some people of Bihar origin and settled in Surat. He said the state government has nothing to do with it.
Meanwhile, the man who had organised the placing of the second ad, Vijay Paliwal, a Surat-based textile broker and processing plant owner, told The Sunday Express that he is convinced that he did no wrong.
“Gujarat is a progressive state and so is Bihar. I thought the meeting of the CMs of two progressive states was a good sign and so put the ad,” he said.
Paliwal said he had come to Gujarat from Bihar many years ago and was touched by Modi’s gesture to send flood relief to Bihar. He said he was not connected to any political party.
Reacting to the ads in Bihar dailies, the state Congress on Saturday said Modi had no right to spend public money during his political visit to Bihar.
The leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Shaktisinh Gohil, said Modi seems to be suffering from ‘megalomania’ and so he used photographs of UP Muslim women to show development of Gujarati Muslims.
Senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia urged Modi to make it clear who would pay the ad bill — BJP or the state government.
He also demanded a public apology from Modi for “misguiding” the people of the state.
Meanwhile, the Azamgarh-based Shibli College is now contemplating legal action against the Gujarat government after photos of its burqa-clad girls appeared in an advertisement released by the Gujarat government in the Patna dailies.
“The families of the burqa-clad girls shown in the picture as well as the college management are being consulted in order to see what legal action we can take in this regard,” the college principal, Iftekaar Ahmed, said when contacted.
The principal said the authorities were in touch with the guardians of the students and they were consulting on how and what legal action could be taken. The principal added that the use of the photos had not gone well locally as well as with the college.
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