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Assam family worried after discovering their photo on govt website; Here’s why

GUWAHATI: A photograph of a family portrayed as ‘foreigners’ on Assam government’s website has brewed controversy among certain sections of people and fear among the family in question.

On the website of Assam government’s Home and Political Department a photograph of family with baggage is featured for their section on ‘Foreigners and Tribunal’. Illustration of a barbed wire has been edited on the original photo.

According to a report by The Indian Express, the people in the photograph were family members of one Ibrahim Ali.

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Reportedly, the photograph was taken by a photo journalist Abdul Maleque Ahmed in Chirang district a few days before the outbreak of the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD riots in 2012 between indigenous Bodos and Bengali Speaking Muslims.

Homepage of Assam home Political department
Homepage of Assam home Political department

The photographer clicked the picture when a group of people was running away from burning villages on one side of half-constructed Hagrama bridge to the other side for safety, the report stated.

Ahmed had taken the picture for the Assamese daily he was working for at that time and the picture was featured on its front page as stated in the report.

The picture was widely circulated over the next few months for pieces pertaining to the 2012 riots.

Followed by the discovery about the usage of the photograph, the family in the photo was tracked down.

The 39 year old Ali said that it was his mother and siblings in the photo. Shocked by the usage of the photograph, Ali said that it reminded him of that dark time of the riots.

He expressed concern that such representation might mislead people into believing that they are ‘foreigners’.

Reportedly the All Assam Minority Students’ Union had written to the Chief Sectretary of Assam seeking removal of the picture.

“…such portrayal of genuine Indian Citizens as foreigners by the Government of Assam is outrageous, unconstitutional, illegal…”, said AAMSU in the letter.

The photograph is yet to be taken down from the government website.

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