Pictures of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have appeared in posters put up by the local wing of one of India's communist parties in the southern state of Kerala sparking concerns.
Kim's image was seen in the posters of the Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPI-M) which heads a left-wing government in Kerala.
Top echelons of the party indicated they have no role to play in the posters and Kim's appearance must have been an oversight. Senior party workers in Kerala are reportedly stung by the gaffe committed by lower-rung party men, say local reports.
The CPI-M's political opponent, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been quick to condemn the posters. The BJP's senior spokesman, Sambit Patra, said he hoped CPI-M workers do not "launch missiles" at right-wing groups.
"Kim Jong-un finds place in CPM's posters in Kerala!! No wonder they have converted Kerala into killing fields for their opponents! Hope the left is not planning to launch missiles at the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak], BJP offices as their next gruesome agenda!" Patra wrote on Twitter, referring to the BJP's ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which has been locked in a bloody turf war with the communist party in Kerala.
Previously, the CPI-M used images of leaders such as Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx in their banners.
The BJP claims as many as 120 of its workers have been killed since 2001 in Kerala and it blames most of these murders on left-wing forces.
The communists blame right-wing groups for stoking violence in order to gain a political foothold in the state, where the communists have traditionally had a strong presence.
In a separate incident in October 2017, traders had put up posters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi likening him to Kim Jong-un in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh to criticise his economic policies. Police immediately swung into action and arrested several people at that time.