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City anchor: Modi visit fallout: Two economists turn down SRCC invite

Author: Aditi Vatsa
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: February 12, 2013
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/city-anchor-modi-visit-fallout-two-economists-turn-down-srcc-invite/1072775/

Introduction : Organisers of Economics summit said the two professors were ready to visit college at a later date

The protests that marked Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) have resulted in two leading economists declining the college's invitation to attend an economics summit.

According to organisers of Shri Ram Economics Summit, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) professor C P Chandrasekhar and former JNU economics professor Utsa Patnaik had been invited to speak at the event, held on February 7 and 8.

Modi was at the college on February 6.

"It was unfortunate that (students) could not hear them speak.... We had invited them to give us a different perspective on the topics. Neither of the speakers have any animosity towards the college or students. The whole thing was timed in a manner that made it difficult for them to attend the summit and we understand that. We are planning to request them to visit the college for a separate session, probably after a month," coordinator for the summit Dhiraj Nim said.

Patnaik was expected to talk on agrarian prospects in the country, while Chandrasekhar was scheduled to speak on foreign investment and capital flows.

Chandrasekhar declined comment, but Patnaik said: "Modi had been invited to speak at an event, separate from economics summit."

Modi's visit had Left-wing organisations and students protesting outside SRCC. Protesters had broken barricades and police had resorted to water cannons and lathicharge to control the crowd.

"The atmosphere had become vitiated. Except a few TV channels, which recorded what was happening outside the college, not one section of the media talked about what happened," Patnaik said.

Patnaik said she was "willing to talk to students at SRCC" at a later date. "When we came to know about this, we asked the organisers to schedule the talks for later. Although this particular programme was organised by the economics society, we did not want an interlinking of the two events," she said.

Meanwhile, there has been an online petition to Lieutenant-Governor, asking him to help withdraw the FIRs against students and demanding action against Delhi Police for its "brutal and unprovoked action" against protesters.

Students claim that they were molested and verbally abused by "miscreants" and that police personnel at the spot did not stop them.

The petition, started by a St Stephen's College teacher Karen Gabriel and signed by DU students and teachers, reads: "Police decided to file these FIRs only after medico-legal complaints of the injured protesters confirmed assault on them. Such blatantly vindictive and arm-twisting tactics are condemnable... must be immediately reversed."
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