Petition against Narendra Modi’s keynote at Wharton

English: Image of Narendra Modi at the World E...


Narendra Modi has been invited to be the keynote speaker at Wharton at its 17th Economic Forum on March 23, 2013. Please see the letter below urging Wharton to rescind the invitation to Narendra Modi and sign if you want to support it. Send signatures to !


“We are outraged to learn that the Wharton India Economic Forum has invited Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, to be a keynote speaker at its 17th Economic Forum on March 23, 2013.
This is the same politician who was refused a diplomatic visa by the United States State Department on March 18, 2005 on the ground that he, as Chief Minister, did nothing to prevent a series of orchestrated riots that targeted Muslims in Gujarat. The most conservative estimates are that over a thousand people, mostly Muslims, died in those riots. Thousands more were forced to leave their homes and businesses. Human Rights Watch (among other international and Indian bodies) showed that politicians and the police in the state abetted the slaughter and displacement of Muslim Gujaratis:
Since then, the Supreme Court of India has repeatedly faulted the Gujarat government led by Modi for failing to prosecute those guilty of the crimes in 2002 and instead prosecuting whistle-blowers and activists who had tried to bring the guilty to justice. In February 2012, the Supreme Court again criticized the Modi government for harassing activists fighting for justice with trumped up charges. What this sordid record proves is Mr Modi’s callous disregard for the life of Indian citizens and for upholding the Indian constitution.
In taking cognizance of Modi’s culpability, the State Department also revoked his “existing tourist/business visa under section 212 (a) (2) (g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.” As David C. Mulford, U.S. Ambassador to India, explained then, “Section 212 (a) (2) (g) makes any foreign government official who ‘was responsible for or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom’ ineligible for a visa to the United States.” Ambassador Mulford went on to say that the State Department’s decision was “based on the fact that, as head of the State government in Gujarat between February 2002 and May 2002, [Modi] was responsible for the performance of state institutions at that time. The State Department’s detailed views on this matter are included in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and the International Religious Freedom Report. Both reports document the violence in Gujarat from February 2002 to May 2002 and cite the Indian National Human Rights Commission report, which states there was “a comprehensive failure on the part of the state government to control the persistent violation of rights of life, liberty, equality, and dignity of the people of the state” (
It is incomprehensible to us that this is the man who the Wharton India Economic Forum wishes to celebrate as an exemplar of economic and social development. We find it astonishing that any academic and student body at the University of Pennsylvania can endorse ideas about economic development that are based on the systematic oppression of minority populations, whether in India or elsewhere. Our role as scholars and students—and indeed as would-be entrepreneurs and business managers—must be to develop conscientious and efficacious modes of economic organization, not to piggy-back onto the inhuman policies of politicians who not only lack a commitment to human rights and to ideals of social justice, but whose political success is based on the suppression of substantial sections of their own citizens. Modi still does not have a US visa to enter the US, but Wharton plans to present him on Skype to the audience. Recently there have been efforts to whitewash Modi’s grim record and to grant him respectability. Wharton’s invitation lends itself to doing just that.
We urge the Wharton India Economic Forum to revoke their invitation to Narendra Modi. If it does not do not do so, we pledge to protest his presence—virtual as it will be, given that he remains ineligible for a US visa—in a variety of ways, including at the meeting of the Forum. We will also do all that we can to continue to educate our community about the incalculable and continuing harm done by Modi’s brand of politics to India’s constitutional secularism.”



22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. chandra
    Mar 03, 2013 @ 10:08:35

    Good joke!


  2. Abhinav Sharma
    Mar 03, 2013 @ 12:01:40

    What a bunch of snobs u guys are! U fall at the feet of China and have a problem with Narendra Modi who is the most patriotic Indian politician of this generation. The only reason behind the propaganda against Modi is to maintain status quo in India so that the establishment continues to prosper at the expense of the rest of us. The riots in Gujarat were the best dealt riots of all the major ones in India. As for Human Rights Commission in India – it is a Congress machine. This party has raped and plundered India for decades and has spread its influence in all Indian institutions so much that any fairness is not to be expected. And you snobs at Wharton dare to ban Modi. Go ahead do it. Here is India’s middle finger to you.


  3. trupti_inlaw
    Mar 03, 2013 @ 13:13:28



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  5. danish
    Mar 04, 2013 @ 00:41:48

    Narendra modi not only presided over the murder of innocent human beings he added fire by his insensitive comments like riot victimns refugee camps are baby producing factories, he is a black spot on the idea of India


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  7. naavi
    Mar 04, 2013 @ 21:55:42

    This is a political move to discredit Mr Modi. It is unfortunate that the academia of Wharton patronizes the Congress culture which has destroyed the Indian economy through corruption.


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  9. rashmme
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 04:07:58

    Clearly two intentions behind this petition:
    1. Typical Bengali background meaning communism aligned upbringing with tendencies to be anti-Hindu, pseudo-secular and confused nationalism concepts or for all you know this is much bigger: related to one of the Bengali politicians or journalists who consider the Italian ma’am running India like an Incorporation to be their boss. Makes me think that there is a bigger benefit associated with him giving his voice to this…
    2. Best way to gain widespread popularity by this little known assistant professor as until now Google search engine had no data prompts or even enough data to correct the misspelt name. Look at the airtime he was given on Indian TV channels like NDTV. Why would he want to go on television about this? If it was an internal Wharton issue, then he would have declined to be a part of the debates aging his intention was not to sensationalize!


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  14. Prashanth
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 15:16:22

    Education does not make u intelligent does it . This hypocritical and useless professor will run to the US which is accused of war crimes in Guantanamo bay , iraq, vietnam and all for the sake of Dollars and accuse modi who has just been charged with negligence and not conspiracy. . The epitome of hypocrisy..


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