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In annual report, home ministry confuses Spain-Morocco border for India-Pakistan border

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs was left red-faced after it published an incorrect photo of the India-Pakistan border in its annual report for 2016-17. A photo captioned as "floodlighting along the border" turned out to be from the Spain-Morocco border, which was originally taken in 2006 by a Spanish photographer, Javier Moyano.

The home ministry used a picture of Spain-Morocco border as India's border with Pakistan, prompting the Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi to say that the ministry would apologise if there is a mistake. "If there is a mistake, we will apologise," he said.

The picture with the caption 'Floodlighting along the Border' was published recently in the home ministry's 324-page annual report, with detailed information on floodlighting along the India-Pakistan border. However, later it came to light that the picture was of the Spain-Morocco border, located along the Plazas de soberanía, Ceuta, Melilla and Alborán Island along the north coast of Morocco.

Between Morocco and Ceuta, there is a physical border known as the Ceuta border fence. Melilla also has a physical border known as the Melilla border fence, similar to the Indo-Pak border with floodlighting. Spain and Morocco have a sea between them but there are Spanish conclaves on the north coast of Africa that have a fenced and floodlit border with Morocco.

MHA annual report has used a picture of Spain-Morocco border and dubbed it as India-Pakistan border. Image courtesy: Screenshot

MHA annual report has used a picture of Spain-Morocco border and dubbed it as India-Pakistan border. Screen grab of the report

Hours after the goof was out in the public domain and was reported by several media houses, the Union Home Ministry launched an internal investigation into the error.

Sources said the home ministry officials were trying to find out from where the picture was sourced. It could be from the Border Security Force (BSF) which guards major portions of the 3,323 km long boundary, sources from the ministry told PTI.

Source have also told The Times of India that the home ministry's annual report has been out in the public domain for almost three months and that it will be difficult to correct the gaffe as printing of new copies of the report is a massive task.

This is not the first time that the photograph was misused. It was used by another 'right-wing propaganda site' The Fearless Indian. In 2016, in an article headlined With 1.5 Lakh Lights Illuminating it, This Is How India's Border with Pakistan Looks like in the Night and from Space, Dainik Bhaskar had used it as a photograph of India-Pakistan border.

The government has said that 647-kilometre of India's border with Pakistan and Bangladesh has been floodlit to prevent terrorists and immigrants from infiltrating into Indian territory. It was widely reported that the floodlighting was completed in a year. Almost 2,000 km of the border in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat is floodlit, NDTV reported.

Updated Date: Jun 15, 2017 11:14 AM

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