NEW DELHI: Days ahead of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley in the US, a group of intellectuals and economists came out in support government’s Digital India campaign to counter an ‘anti-campaign’ run by a group of US-based activists and writers.
In the latest war of letters, the counter petition against the one by US academicians was launched here saying that American intellectuals had crossed the thin line between hitting out at Modi and hurting India. They argued that it was “a call of economic war against India”.
Some US- based academicians had asked the tech giants in Silicon Valley to boycott Modi’s visit citing 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”.
On Tuesday, Indian academicians released a letter in support of Modi’s visit.
They insisted that Digital India programme is an “important mission” that can transform the lives of people here and lessons from Modi’s visit to the Valley are crucial in this regard. “E-governance, digitalisation have produced dramatic results in curbing corruption. When citizens are yearning for it, US academicians are calling for economic boycott.”
“We never heard (from them) that Pakistan, which is a mother of terrorism, be boycotted or China which is resorting to human rights abuses in Tibet be economically boycotted. This is for the nth time that this group of intellectuals have crossed the ‘Laxmanrekha’ between hitting out at Modi and hurting India,” Madhu Kishwar, professor and founder of Manushi - a journal about women -- told reporters.
Among other signatories to the letter are Gautam Sen, Dilip Chakraborty, Kapil Kapoor, Anirban Ganguly, ICCR chairman Lokesh Chandra, Vamsee Julurie, assocham president Rana Kapoor, Ficci president Jyotsna Suri, Chandrajit Banerjee, DG, CII.
Releasing the letter Kishwar said, “And some of us at least are convinced there are vested interests behind such moves. It is a consistent witch hunt that has gone on for over a decade and I think it is time we too stood up and say enough is enough.”
Yes Bank senior vice president Preeti Sinha, who accompanied Kishwar along with economist Laveesh Bhandari, extended support to the Centre’s programme saying the same is set to transform the lives of the people here.
The letter hit out at the US faculty saying they were disregarding the mandate given by the people of India and instead raising the bogey of the 2002 Gujarat riots even though the courts had exonerated him.