“Americans for Free Speech” protest against Wharton’s Modi snub.

published on March 24, 2013
A group of Indian-Americans held a peaceful protest march in Pennsylvania against the decision of Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) to withdraw an invitation to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

Under the banner of “Americans for Free Speech,” the Indian-Americans chanted slogans like “We want Modi” and displayed his pictures on posters and banners.

Most of the protesters who had arrived from New York and New Jersey marched down several blocks to hold a demonstration in front of the WIEF event yesterday, which held its day-long conference on the India’s economic development.

Several speakers addressed the protesters gathered across the street from Harrison Auditorium at the University of Pennsylvania, where the conference was held.

“Members of the press were denied entrance to the conference,” The Daily Pennsylvania reported, putting the number of protesters at 200.

Opposing the decision of WIEF to cancel its invitation to Modi after three University of Pennsylvania professors protested against it, Narain Kataria of the Indian American Intellectuals Forum alleged that WIEF had attacked the “freedom of speech” and called it an “inappropriate interference” into the Indian political process.

Later in a memorandum submitted to the University of Pennsylvania President Dr Amy Gutmann, the protesters said they were “saddened and outraged to see this great university being bullied by a mere three English and Social Work activist professors” of Indic origin.

“The principal issues here are freedom of speech and right to dissent. Sadly, both of these have been brutally trampled on at UPenn by this action,” the memorandum stated.

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