The group that opposed Narendra Modi’s talk for students of Wharton school in March is now asking American universities to screen a documentary on the 2002 post-Godhra riots as part of a 15-day campaign against the Gujarat chief minister later this month.
American universities are being encouraged to screen Final Solution, the 2003 Rakesh Sharma documentary on the riots which pointed to state complicity, which was banned for a brief period in India.
The original protesting group, spurred by University of Pennsylvania professors, is now reaching out to other universities in the US to build on the anti-Modi momentum in a campaign between April 15 and April 30.
Eight universities, including New York University, Ohio State University and the University of California, Berkeley have already planned screenings, according to the group’s Facebook page, with more expected to join. The University of Pennsylvania already screened the film last month, in the wake of the cancellation of the invitation to Modi.
“The thinking is simple — the campaign is to reiterate a firm opposition to Narendra Modi and the politics he represents, and particularly to ongoing efforts to repress memories of the 2002 genocide in Gujarat,” said Ania Loomba, one of the Upenn professors, via email.
After Loomba and others opposed the invitation for Modi to speak at the Ivy League University’s business school at the Wharton India Economic Forum, the organisers cancelled his talk, which sparked off a chain of events, including other speakers and sponsors backing out.
An online petition originating in Philadelphia has also been set in motion, to hold Modi accountable for human rights violations and has garnered nearly 100 signatures so far.
“We, concerned citizens from India, the United States, and around the world are outraged at the massive effort by Narendra Modi, the chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, to erase from public memory the 2002 genocide that occurred in this state,” it reads.