No, American cartoonist Ben Garrison did not create posts disparaging India's top political parties

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Cartoons have been repeatedly posted online over recent years disparaging India’s main political parties that were purportedly created by American artist Ben Garrison. The cartoons are doctored versions of one created by an Indian cartoonist that do not target political parties.

The various versions of the cartoon show a cow doing his excrement into a bucket, which is meant to represent the Indian people. A cow is seen as sacred by India’s Hindu majority, and versions of the cartoon have been used to ridicule or criticise both the major political parties.

AFP has tracked the doctored cartoons onto Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Quora back to 2016. While the manipulated cartoons have different wording to target either the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party or opposition Indian National Congress, they all attribute the cartoon to Garrison.

Here is an archived version of one of the misleading posts on Facebook.

The manipulated cartoons are based on an original by Amal Medhi, an Indian cartoonist based in West Bengal state, that criticised a government policy as being beneficial to foreign investors at the expense of Indian people.

It did not target either political party directly. 

Below is Medhi’s original cartoon that he posted to Facebook in September, 2015.

Medhi told AFP in a phone interview that he had repeatedly posted online comments to say he was not behind the doctored cartoons.

“These posts have been going viral since 2016 and I’ve offered clarifications. Yet, not much has changed, Mehdi said.

"Such doctoring and misuse of my work is stressful and may have political ramifications. I hope it stops soon.”   

Garrison has also denied creating the cartoons in a Twitter post.