`Americans for Free Speech` group protests against Wharton

Last Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 14:47

Washington: Disappointed at the decision of Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) to cancel its invitation to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for delivering a keynote address, his supporters on Wednesday launched a campaign to lodge their protests against the decisions.

The supporters, under the banner of `Americans for Free Speech`, in a mass email asked people to write to the top management of Wharton School, America`s top business school, and the University of Pennsylvania against the decision taken by the WIEF to rescind its invitation to Modi.

The email contains contact details and phone numbers of more than a dozen officials of WIEF and the Wharton School.

While the announcement is yet to be made public, the promoters of the campaign said that a group of distinguished community leaders and prominent University Professors in the US is working on a memorandum to be submitted to Wharton for "violation of First Amendment" of the Constitution, "stifling free speech" and "pandering" to far left.

The group is also planning to hold a peaceful protest outside the venue of the annual student-run India-centric conference hosted by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania on March 23. The organisers of the campaign said their purpose is to make the University and the Wharton School aware that their decision has not gone down well among the Indian Americans, and corporate sector of the country.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the Wikipedia page of the Wharton India Economic Forum today appeared to have been compromised as the language written explaining it and the annual event was far below its standard, one-sided and seen to be "angry" at the Wharton`s decision on Modi.

Wikipedia`s press office did not respond to an email seeking clarification on its content.

Simultaneously, at least two panelists on WIEF said, requesting anonymity, that they have been received several calls from people, mainly Indian-Americans, asking them to withdraw their names from the annual event in protest against the Wharton`s decision on Modi.

Both the panelists requested that their names not be made public, and also refrained from sharing the names of the people or groups who are asking them to pull out from the annual event.

"I am not. The prestigious event is being organised by students. Even though I do not agree with their decision, I do not want to pull out and cause problems for these students - they are either Indians or Indian-Americans?" one of the panelists said.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 14:40

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