NEW YORK (NEWS) : Indian Americans staged a demonstration at the Wharton India Economic Forum in Pennsylvania on Saturday to protest against the withdrawal of an invitation to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to address it under pressure from some professors and students.
About 200 people, who came from New York and New Jersey, marched under the banner of Americans for Free Speech, shouting, “We want Modi!”
They registered their protest by pasting a sign outside the venue of the Forum at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia. It read: “”In memory of Free Speech 1776-2013. Killed at Wharton by the English Department.”
Many protesters carried banners which read: `First they came for the Hindus…’, `End McCarthyism against Hindus…’, `Stop Academic Jihad’ and `Fire Ania Loomba,’ etc.
The march, which was not allowed to reach the Forum venue, heard speeches from guest speakers.
Those who spoke included engineering professor Saswati Sarkar, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education spokesperson Peter Bonilla and several freedom of speech activists and Modi supporters, according to the local Daily Pennsylvanian.
“It seems like students are organizing an activity that they’re not proud of,’’ Sarkar was quoted as saying in her speech about the removal of Modi.
History professor Alan Kors, who could not come, sent his statement titled `What hypocrisy!’
The statement read, “As you meet, Penn is planning closer collaboration with China, home of the laogai work camps and deaths by government beyond counting. Narendra Modi, on the other hand, may not even be heard on matters economic.’’
The Wharton India Economic Forum had initially invited Modi, but it withdrew the invite later under pressure from faculty and students who accuse the Gujarat chief minister of being behind the 2002 Hindu-Muslim riots in his state.