A noted Indian-American physician has withdrawn from the annual Wharton India Economic Forum in the wake of the organiser’s decision to cancel a key-note address by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

New Jersey-based eminent physician, philanthropist and publisher Sudhir Parikh was invited to address the WIEF conference on March 23 in place of The Wall Street columnist Sadanand Dhume, who withdrew from the conference in protest of the forum’s handling of the Modi affair.

“As an immigrant of over 30 years standing and dedicated to promoting the cause of India and Indian Americans, I look forward to sharing my thoughts about NRIs as ambassadors of India,” Dr Parikh told WIFE.

“However, the manner in which the committee has been pressurised to rescind its invitation to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on entirely suspicious grounds, I feel the intellectual integrity of the forum has been compromised,” Dr Parikh said in his letter, a copy of which was made available to the PTI.

Parikh, who is publisher of several India American publications in the US, said as a publisher he is constrained to err on the side of the free flow of ideas and unfettered discussion public policy issue be it in academics or journalism.

“It is for this reason; I have no choice but to withdraw my name from the panel of speakers of this year’s forum,” said Parikh, who in 2012 was conferred with the Padma Shri award by the then President Pratibha Patil.

(This article was published on March 14, 2013)
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