On Monday, three Indian journalists - Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand - werehonoured with the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in the field of feature photography.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi congratulated them for capturing "powerful images of life in Jammu & Kashmir". Taking to Twitter, Gandhi on Tuesday wrote, "Congratulations to Indian photojournalists Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand for winning a Pulitzer Prize for their powerful images of life in Jammu & Kashmir. You make us all proud."
However, BJP leader Sambit Patra attacked the Congress leader over his congratulatory tweet to the photojournalists, alleging that Gandhi had wished those who considered Kashmir a "contested territory".
In a series of tweets, Patra said, "Friends let me present to you the real @RahulGandhi: Just read what the Pulitzer Prize citation to three “Indian” journalists reads, it clearly mentions Kashmir as independent of India. And here is RahulG congratulating these so called journalists !!
"Dear @RahulGandhi ji You congratulated Mr Dar who received the Pulitzer award today for photography. One of the photographs is enclosed herewith. The caption mentions “Indian Occupied Kashmir” Mr Rahul is Kashmir an integral part of India?? Answer," he further wrote.
Patra even sought answers from Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi. "Will Sonia Gandhi answer? Whether she and the Congress party concur with Rahul Gandhi on the issue of Kashmir not being an integral part of India! Rahul today congratulated those who got an award for considering Kashmir as a 'Contested Territory'!" Patra said, posting the message with the hashtag "anti-national Rahul Gandhi".
Meanwhile, the BJP leader in order to score points over Gandhi and provide fodder to his Twitter followers, seems to have forgotten the cardinal rule for photojournalists.
For the uninitiated, the photojournalists aren't the ones who provide captions to the photographs but it is the agency who chooses the caption, in this case the Associated Press (AP).
Moreover, the photo caption mentioned "India controlled Kashmir", while Patra in his tweet, wrote "Indian Occupied Kashmir". Twitter users pointed out the error in his tweet and trolled him. "The National Spokesperson of the Ruling Party of the world’s largest democracy doesn’t know the difference between “occupied” and “controlled”. Why am I not surprised?" said a Twitter user.
Here are some Twitter reactions:
The Pulitzer Prize is one of the most prestigious honours, awarded every year for achievements in journalism, literature and Art in 21 categories, comprises a certificate and a $15,000 cash award.