In an embarrassing goof-up, the Assam government on 31 July included a photograph believed to be of the 2014 floods in Bangladesh, as part of its interim reports on the devastating floods in the state.
The report was handed over by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during his two-day visit to the flood-ravaged state.
The photograph was reportedly sent to the official WhatsApp group by Sub Divisional Officer (Civil) Kaliabor subdivision under whose jurisdiction a part of Kaziranga falls. "It has now being brought to the notice of the State Government that this photograph does not belong to the current Kaziranga floods. The Government has taken this act of SDO (Civil) Kaliabor subdivision Madhumita Bhagawati very seriously. This has caused enormous embarrassment to the State Government. The Government has placed the officer under suspension with immediate effect," the Economic Times reported.
The photo in question was taken during the 2014 floods in Bangladesh's Noakhali. The image, of a young boy - named Belal - rescuing a deer, was captured by wildlife photographer Hasibul Wahab and distributed by Caters News Agency in February 2014.
Senior Assam government officials owned up the mistake when pointed out but 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.