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Assam govt left red faced as 2014 Bangladesh pic included in flood report to Rajnath Singh, officer suspended

A senior of Assam Civil Services officer was on Saturday suspended by the state government after he was held primarily responsible for a major goof-up when a two-year old world-famous photograph of Bangladesh's Noakhali flood

India TV News Desk, Guwahati [ Updated: July 31, 2016 8:21 IST ]
Rajnath Singh with Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal
Image Source : PTI Rajnath Singh with Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal

A senior of Assam Civil Services officer was on Saturday suspended by the state government after he was held primarily responsible for a major goof-up when a two-year old world-famous photograph of Bangladesh's Noakhali flood was included in its interim report on flood to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

The 10-page interim report, handed over by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to Singh during his day-long visit to survey the flood condition in the state, comprises nine photographs.

Out of this, one is the famous picture of Noakhali flood, where a young boy rescues and carries a baby deer amidst flood water.

The picture, taken by wildlife photographer Hasibul Wahab and distributed by Caters News Agency in February 2014, received global appreciation at that time.

The photo showed the boy, Belal, in his 20s risking his life to rescue the baby deer with waters reaching his eyes.

Senior Assam government officials owned up the mistake when pointed out but initially tried to shift the blame on "some" DCs who forwarded the picture to the state capital.

"It is a big mistake. We accept it. Actually some DCs have forwarded this to us because of similarity with situation in Kaziranga National Park," a senior official said on condition of anonymity.

Another official said residents in and around Kaziranga have been rescuing animals during current wave of flood and this might have "misled" officials to include the picture.

Dipak Kumar Sarma, chief executive officer of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said that “a pictorial error has occurred inadvertently showing photograph of rescue of a spotted deer which is not related to Assam” in the interim report submitted to the union home minister.

An hour later, Assam Chief Minister’s Office said Madhumita Bhagaboty, Civil SDO of Kaliabor sub-division in Nagaon district was placed under suspension with immediate effect. He had reportedly forwarded to a government whatsapp group the picture showing a person rescuing a deer and had said that it was from Kaziranga National Park which is currently reeling under floods.

Bhagaboty is 1995-batch officer of the Assam Civil Service.

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