The photo belongs to Boston-based photographer Bimal Nepal, who has apparently worked for the National Geographic and Harvard Media among others.
Although slightly modified from the original photo, the photo post read: “Greetings on Dhanteras. May Lord Dhanvantari bless us with prosperity, joy and good health.”
Unhappy with the use of his photograph, Nepal wrote a message on his Facebook page saying he was honoured, but was concerned that neither his permission was sought not credit attributed to him. To prove his point, he uploaded the original photo along with the edited version used on Modi’s greeting post.
Nepal wrote on his 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! 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?”
After the incident, the photographer changed the cover photo of his Facebook page with the original image. Despite notifying the Prime Minister’s Facebook page of the infringement, Modi’s Facebook page has not issued any apology nor given credits to Bimal Nepal.