In an embarrassment to Kerala government, a 40-year-old housewife has alleged that her photo was used without her consent in an advertisement of the much-touted "Nirbhaya Keralam Surakshitha Keralam" programme and threatened to sue the government.
Relatives of the aggrieved woman, a mother of two who has been working in Bahrain after the death of her husband some years ago, said she would soon file a defamation suit against those responsible for using her picture for the campaign.
Meanwhile, state Cultural Affairs Minister K C Joseph has sought an explanation from the Public Relations Department, which designed the advertisement.
The programme is envisaged as a government-civil society initiative for the safety and security of women, was launched by Congress president Sonia Gandhi last week in Kochi.
The advertisement, featuring her along with two children, not hers, was released in local dailies on the inaugural day of the programme.
The woman was shocked when some of her friends telephoned her and asked when she turned into modelling, the relatives said.
The government has taken the matter seriously and would initiate appropriate action after getting the report, the minister's office said.
A senior official of the Public Relations Department, wished not to be named, said the picture of the woman was sourced from the internet. It was a mistake but was not a deliberate act to hurt anybody, he said.
"We got the matter for the advertisement only late in the evening. Though we prepared the advertisement with the picture of the children alone initially, the government wanted to include the photo of a woman as the 'Nirbhaya' programme was for the safety of both women and children," the official told PTI.
"The minister has sought an explanation from us and we will be submitting it soon," the official said.