In what could amount to copyright infringement, official Facebook account of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has allegedly used a photograph by US-based photographer, Bimal Nepal, to wish people on the occasion of Dhanteras, the first day of the 5-day Diwali festival celebrated by Hindus around the world.
PM's Facebook account on Tuesday posted, "Greetings on Dhanteras. May Lord Dhanvantari bless us with prosperity, joy and good health," along with a photograph allegedly taken by Bimal Nepal. The original photo has the photographer's watermark but the one on PM's Facebook page has erased it and background is also seen slightly modified.
The photographer, who has worked for the National Geographic and Harvard Media, wrote on his Facebook page that he was "honoured" but expressed his unhappy for neither taking permission from him to use the photo nor giving due attribution. He posted both the original and the edited version seen in Modi's Facebook page.
"This photograph has been used by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Facebook page. I shot this photo in my dining room last year with the help of my daughter Abina. She set up the candle lights on Diwali in our home in Cambridge Massachusetts. I am truly honored!" he wrote.
"My greatest question and concern is - there is no credit for the photographer?! What will happen so called © copyright issue? He did not ask for the permission. Any suggestion?" he added.
Modi's Facebook page has neither given attribution to Bimal Nepal nor issued an apology till the time of filing this story despite the photographer expressing his displeasure.
Diwali or the festival of light, which signifies victory of good over evil or of light over darkness, is celebrated with great pomp and show, especially in India with people lighting up their houses, burst firecrackers, shop, exchange sweets and wish loved ones with messages of love and good wishes. Diwali 2014 falls on Thursday, 23 October.