Stop using my image for political gains, says face of Gujarat riots
New Delhi: Qutubuddin Ansari, whose crying image involuntarily became the face of 2002 Gujarat riots, has asked political parties to stop using his image for political gains.
Hoping to capitalise on his posters, Congress in Assam has published ads featuring Qutubuddin Ansari to revive the memories of Gujarat riots in the last leg of polling, the advertisement asked voters, “Does Mr Modi’s Gujarat always mean development? Do you want Assam to be a Gujarat of this kind?”
The advertisement has assumed significance as Lower Assam districts, dominated by Muslim voters, are going to polls on Monday and the advertisement was widely published a day before the electioneering came to an end.
"I am 43 and in the past 14 years, I have been "used and misused" by political parties, Bollywood and even terror outfits. I wish I had died in 2002 because I am not able to answer my children when they ask me "Papa, every time we saw your picture, why are you crying and begging?" Ansari told Mumbai Mirror.
"Congress has not sought my consent for this. In fact, in the past Sharad Pawar's NCP and Samajwadi Party besides some other local state parties used my picture in a similar manner. I have approached the court, but in vain." Ansari told mirror.
Ansari was 29 when his photograph, a young man with tears in his eyes, begging for mercy, for life, that went on to become iconic reminder of the Gujarat riots of 2002.
"The picture gave me life. I was saved because media was travelling with the RAF then and maybe the cops could not ignore and saved me. But it cost me everything else in my life. I lost my job and my mental peace, Ansari said.
In Assam and West Bengal, there is a sizeable Muslim electorate, and the Congress hopes to capitalise with Ansari's posters.