Narendra Modi as chief guest angers printers, boycott enforced

Feb 26 2013, 17:39 IST
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SummaryA protest is raging over an invitation extended to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

would simply rubber stamp our agreement to be media partners.

"It seems that in a bid to perhaps draw crowds rather than hold a conference with real content you have been misled by Narendra Modi's propaganda machine of his great successes in Gujarat...In addition, you are perhaps unwittingly becoming a part of Modi's propaganda which includes his efforts to avoid all legal responsibility for crimes perpetrated by him and his government," Khanna said.

Among those protesting the choice of Modi as chief guest are Urvashi Butalia of Zubaan Books, Arpita Das (Yoda Press), S Anand (Navayana), Radhika Menon (Tulika Publishers, Chennai), Mandira Sen (Stree-Samya, Kolkata), Asad Zaidi (Three Essays, New Delhi), Ritu Menon (Women Unlimited, New Delhi) and Chandra Chari (The Book Review, New Delhi).

Antara Dev Sen (The Little Magazine, New Delhi), Sudhanva Deshpande (Leftword, New Delhi), Madhumoy Sengupta (Samskriti, New Delhi), Esha Beteille (Social Science Press, New Delhi), Faheem Agboatwalla (Hi-Tech, Mumbai), Ram Rahman (designer, photographer and writer) and Akshay Pathak (publishing consultant and writer) are also opposed to the choice of Modi as the chief guest.

The annual printer's conference had popular writer Chetan Bhagat as the keynote speaker in the first session in the year 2011.

Organisers say like the previous two editions, this year too they expect over 300 delegates to participate.

"Certainly we will go ahead with our event," said Jacob George of PressIdeas, an organiser of the conference.

"They have a right to protest but it will not affect our event. We will go ahead as planned," he said.

The invite to the printers conference said, "A dreamer that Mr Modi is, he has the remarkable ability to transform dreams into reality and we have been seeing it in the state of Gujarat...Let us all hear him speak on his vision and mission and get inspired to do better business in our chosen field of printing!"

"We shall leave no stone unturned to make it an even bigger success than the last two," George said.

Meanwhile, Ramanathan claimed he had received "calls and sms from leading members of the AIFMP with both covert and overt threats".

"This is the second time such a thing has happened. A few months ago, I had objected to the glorification of the late Bal Thackeray by one of the 50 print associations of the AIFMP in their monthly print journal. I had sought to understand what the contribution of Thackeray was to the welfare and growth of

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