A group of intellectuals and economists have come out in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India campaign and his upcoming Silicon Valley visit, which is being opposed by a section of US academicians who contend that the programme will be used for "dubious" purposes like curbing civil liberties in India.
Launching a counter petition against the one by US academicians, who have written to tech giants warning of risks in dealing with the government over Digital India campaign, the group maintained that American intellectuals have crossed the thin line between hitting out at Modi and hurting India.
It is high time it is told "enough is enough", it said. They insisted Digital India programme is an "important mission" that can transform 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 conducting human rights abuses in Tibet be economically boycotted. This for nth time that this group of intellectuals have crossed the 'laxman rekha' between hitting out at Modi and hurting India," Madhu Kishwar, professor and founder of Manushi - a journal about women - told reporters.
Kishwar said the group here has no problem if the American academicians criticise Modi, but measures such as appeal for economic boycott are aimed at hurting India.
"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," she said, adding the counter petition has been signed also by those who don't have association with the BJP.
According to reports, over 100 US academicians have written to major tech companies warning them against risks of dealing with Indian government, which they claimed, has demonstrated its disregard for civil liberties and human rights besides autonomy of cultural and educational institutions.
They also expressed concerns over alleged lack of safeguards about privacy of information in the campaign and its alleged potential for abuse.