Source- Mumbai Mirror


The campaign launched by right-leaning academicians says 'hate Modi' is turning out to be 'hurt India'; PM to visit America this month.

In response to campaign by US academics, including Indologist Wendy Doniger, against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit to Silicon Valley, a group of right-leaning intellectuals on Tuesday started a counter petition.

The petition signed by industrialists, bankers, economists, IITians and other academicians says that the campaign by over 100 academics at US universities is not just "hate Modi", it is turning out to be a "hurt India" drive.

Modi scheduled to visit US by the end of this month.

The list includes economist Surjit Bhalla, Aman Nath, chairman of Neemrana Group of Hotels, Dr Shekhar Pant, MD La Femme, Fortis Hospital, Sucheta Dalal, Yes Bank chief Rana Kapoor, retired IFS officer Bhaswati Mukerjee and several IIT professors.

"This is for the nth time this group of academics have crossed Lakshman Rekha, hitting out at Modi and hurting India. They have been consistent with their witch hunt against first against democratically chief minister and now Prime Minister," activist Madhu Kishwar, who is also one of the signatories said.

The same group had successfully petitioned with the US government to not give visa to Modi in 2005 on charges of facilitating Gujarat riots.

On August 29, US academicians had shot off a letter warning tech giants of the risks of doing business with a government that has "demonstrated its disregard for human rights and civil liberties, as well as the autonomy of educational and cultural institutions". The signatories include Wendy Doniger, University of Chicago professor and Princeton University's M V Ramana, a renowned antinuclear activist.

The letter has been sent to top technology companies including Google, Microsoft and Adobe, all of which are led by CEOs of Indian origin- Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella and Shantanu Narayen, respectively. The letter had also questioned Modi's pet project 'Digital India', which the US academicians say will enhance surveillance and invade privacy.

Kishwar also questioned the credibility of Silicon Valley companies, which she said have provided technological help including surveillance facility to dictatorial regimes like Saudi Arabia.

"By all means you can criticize Narendra Modi, but masquerading blind hate as defense of civil liberties is something else," Kishwar added.

Another signatory, economist Laveesh Bhandari, said that the campaign is worse that 'street fighting'. "You need not support the gentleman, but digital India programme will change the way India works, it will remove constraints, circumvent lot of biases, so why oppose it," Bhandari questioned.