In Modi government ad, Azamgarh girls become Gujaratís new Muslim face

A day after it published full page advertisements in Patna newspapers hailing Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the emancipator of Gujarat's Muslims before he arrives there for the national BJP meet, the Gujarat government could be heading for some serious embarrassment.

The advertisements showcased a photograph of Muslim girls in burqas working on computers, to buttress the point that Gujarat Muslims are faring much better than those elsewhere. But in reality, the girls belonged to a college in Azamgarh in UP; they had nothing to do with Gujarat.

The photograph was apparently taken from a US-based news portal run by Indian Muslims. The portal,, informed The Indian Express on Friday that it is now considering pressing charges of copyright violation against the Gujarat government. In addition, the Shibli College in Azamgarh, has also lambasted the Gujarat government for misusing a photograph of its students.

US-based Kashif ul Huda, Executive Editor of the portal said, "There are two issues here, one of fooling the people by using a picture taken outside Gujarat, and secondly, of copyright violation. It is ironical that they could not get even the required photo from Gujarat for the advertisement."

He added that the photograph was used earlier by the University of Cambridge for its course material with due permission.

Kashif affirmed that the photograph was originally shot by the portal's staffer in the Computer Department of Shibli National College, Azamgarh on November 13, 2008. It was originally published on an online portal as part of a series on Azamgarh November 24 , 2009.

Salman Sultan, Head of the college's Computer Department confirmed to The Indian Express that girls in the photograph were all working in his department.

"This is a heinous act. They are rubbing salt on the humiliated and psychologically wounded Muslim community," he said.

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