Akhilesh boycotts Harvard lecture, cancels Indian Consulate reception

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PTI photo
PTI photo

New York, April 27  (PTI): UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today got the Indian Consulate here to cancel a reception to be hosted in his honour, upset over the brief detention of his cabinet colleague Azam Khan at the Boston airport on Wednesday. This is in addition to the boycott of the Harvard lecture he was due to deliver yesterday.

“Due to unavoidable circumstances, the reception scheduled to be held in honour of Akhilesh Kumar Yadav, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on April 27 at the Consulate General of India, New York, has been cancelled,” a communication from the Indian Consulate in New York said, without giving exact reasons for the step. Consul General D M Mulay, who took charge on Wednesday after his assignment as ambassador to Maldives, refused to give any reason for the cancellation. Invitations to the reception were sent out to all the prominent Indian-Americans, community leaders, elected officials, friends of India in New York and the media two days ago after the Consulate got the confirmation from the office of the chief minister.

Yadav was invited to deliver a lecture at Harvard University in Boston on the recently held Mahakumbh Mela at Allahabad. Khan, a senior leader of the ruling Samajwadi Party in UP and also the state Urban Development minister who was accompanying Yadav, was detained for about 10 minutes at the Boston Logan International Airport for “further questioning” on Wednesday after he landed in a scheduled British Airways flight from India.

Meanwhile, the Harvard South Asia Institute in a post on its website yesterday said, “Due to unforeseen circumstances, the ‘Harvard without Borders: Mapping the Kumbh Mela’ panel speaker will be Shri Jawed Usmani (Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh Government) in place of Shri Akhilesh Yadav (Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh) and Shri Mohammed Azam Khan (Minister of Urban Development, Uttar Pradesh).”

The political members of the delegation from Uttar Pradesh are not attending any of Harvard events in protest, Harvard sources said. The chief minister and Azam Khan are leaving Boston several hours before their scheduled departure, the sources added.

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