Printers protest Narendra Modi as chief guest, pullout from conference

Narendra Modi
A printers' conference, which will begin here later this week, has got into a controversy with several participants pulling out to protest participation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the Chief Guest.

Scheduled to be held on March 2 in Delhi, the conference 'Romancing Print 2013' is the third edition of an annual,professional conference of the printing industry.

This year it has been organised by AIFMP (All India Federation of Master Printers) and the journal Press Ideas,with participation from both national and international

players in the field. The organisers say they are expectingover 300 participants.

'We are both shocked and dismayed to see that Romancing Print has seen fit to invite Narendra Modi as its Chief Guest to this year's edition...We fail to understand why, in the first place, a political figure who neither has anything to do with the print industry nor holds any official position in this regard should have been invited as chief guest when there is no dearth of professionals from the publishing and print industry who could lend both grace and dignity to an event such as this," said Indu Chandrasekhar of Tulika Books.

Following the protest, two of the media partners for the event -- Mumbai-based Printweek India and Delhi-based Indian Printer and Publisher (IPP) -- have withdrawn their support to the event, Chandrasekhar claimed.

In an email to organisers Ramu Ramnathan, Group Editor of Print Week India officially withdrew as a media partner for the event. "We do not agree with the content of your seminar and invitation of Narendra Modi as a chief guest," he said.

'As a magazine and as a publishing house in India with more than 12 years of standing, we stand by the principles of good taste, decency, progressive values, democratic principles and above all, the Constitution of India. As editor of PrintWeek India, I don't think Narendra Modi stands by these values; and hence the withdrawal of support,' Ramnathan said.

Naresh Khanna, Editor, Indian Printer and Publisher Packaging South Asia (IPP) has also pulled out from the event.

'I regret to say that we will not be media partners for the Romancing Print 2013 Conference. We think that it is a huge mistake for you to have invited Modi to address this event. In any case we have never been consulted as to the content or program of the previous Romancing Print events and the organisers have assumed that we 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.

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