Milind Deora too backs out, protests planned at Wharton Forum

Organizers struggling as list of speakers shrink.

Bureau Report

NEW YORK: The conservative activist group Americans for Free Speech, along with some local community members of the organization, have called for a rally outside the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, where the Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) is being held, on March 23, to protest the decision to take back an invite to the chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi to address the meet.

WIEF withdrew its invitation following an outcry amongst some faculty members, related to his suspected refusal to intervene in a series of violent anti-Muslim attacks ten years ago, reported the Daily Pennsylvanian.

Arish Sahani, an organizer of the protest, said that they planned to have “four buses come in from the New York, New Jersey areas” to bring in protestors from the Indian American community.

Meanwhile, more speakers have dropped out of the line-up at the Forum, which is now more in the news for that reason. The Union Minister of State for IT and Communication, Milind Deora, now longer figures on the list of any of the panels, according to a new line-up issued by the organizers. The organizers did not issue a statement on why Deora has backed out of the meet.

Also missing from an earlier list of speakers issued, are Dr. Preetha Reddy, the Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals, and Dr. Ashwin Naik, CEO and co-founder of Vaatsalya Healthcare, who were listed to speak at a panel devoted to healthc are issues.

Earlier, Gautam Adani from the Adani Group and Atul Nishar of Hexaware Technologies had backed out of their speaking roles at the meet. A piece of good news for the organizers is a decision by British Airways to join as a travel sponsor.

Activist Arvind Kejriwal, the National Convener of Aam Aadmi Party and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, are now scheduled to be the keynote speakers. Both are scheduled to address the audience from India via video conference.

Also listed as speakers at the meet, are Manipal Group chairman Mohandas Pai, and Ron Somers, president of the US India Business Council.

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