The decision to invite astrologer P Khurrana for the Saturday talk at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGI), Chandigarh, was taken right at the top, by the institute's director Dr YK Chawla.
The invitation to Khurrana, who calls himself an expert of 'black magic', was not discussed in any committee, it is reliably learnt. Sources said a department head, who had remained cornered during the tenure of previous director Dr KK Talwar and is now a main adviser of the current director, played a key role.
Officials and doctors, who refused to be named fearing persecution, said it is a practice many years old that the director decides the name of the speaker at the Saturday talk.
The decision to invite Khurrana had faced strong opposition from the scientific community, as reported in these columns on August 30 under the headline - 'Black magic experts' is PGI's Saturday special.
A section of the PGI faculty has demanded that the talk, which is for staff and resident doctors, be cancelled immediately so that the institute is saved the humiliation. PGI spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar merely said the invitation was "a collective decision".