Pressure mounts on MIT to disinvite Subramanian Swamy from the India Conference 2019

By Kashif-ul-Huda,

Cambridge, MA: With online petitions, phone calls to MIT’s President’s Office, and now a letter signed by the faculty members, pressure is mounting on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to disinvite Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy from the MIT India Conference 2019 scheduled to be held here on Sunday, February 16, 2019.

Swamy was barred in 2011 from teaching at another Cambridge-based institution, Harvard University, for his Islamophobic views. He has always been in the news for his controversial views on various topics including Muslims, homosexuality, and recently alleging that Priyanka Gandhi has bipolar disorder.

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MIT President’s office has been inundated with calls from people concerned about having Subramanian Swamy at MIT means giving him legitimacy. New Jersey-based Mohammad Jawad was one of the callers to MIT. Speaking to, Jawad characterised Swamy as “one of the most divisive and venom-spreading Indian politicians.” Jawad called MIT office to say that he is “disappointed that MIT is providing a platform to such a politician who is known for marginalising minorities.”

When contacted MIT, the press office didn’t have any comment to make but at the President’s Office acknowledged that they have received a number of calls regarding this issue. They are fully aware of what Mr. Swamy has said in the past and they are looking into the matter.

The calls were part of an action alert issued on February 4th by Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), a US-based advocacy organization. Meanwhile, an online petition on started on February 1st has already garnered 650 signatures.

The petition characterizes Mr. Swamy as “an Islamophobic, Homophobic and Casteist political operative from India who has made a career out of demonizing and vilifying marginalised communities especially religious and sexual minorities.”

The same petition has published an update today which carries a letter signed by nine members of MIT Faculty urging MIT President L. Rafael Reif and Provost Martin A. Schmidt asking them to disinvite Swamy.