NewDelhi/Nagpur: Noted scientist PM Bhargava has said that he was forced to return his Padma Bhushan as the BJP-led NDA government refused to rein in intolerance in the country.
Speaking to news channel, the leading biologist justified his stand pointing that he had been a strong critic of the UPA government as well. “I have attempted to take a stand on every stage,” said Bhargava.
The space for dissent in the country is decreasing, the climate of India country is against rationality, said the scientist.
Responding to a remark of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that the dissent was manufactured, the top scientist hit back saying, “I do not understand manufactured dissent…dissent is dissent.”
“The space for dissent in the country is decreasing, but dissent is crucial for democracy,” said Bhargava, adding, “The climate of the country is against rationality.”
Referring to the returning of awards by several scientists, he further told news channel that “scientists have moral responsibility to voice their concerns and that dissent cannot be manufactured.”
The scientist also claimed that the BJP was acting at the behest of the RSS and that democracy was at risk in India.
Over 130 scientists have a signed a petition urging President Pranab Mukherjee to take note of the charged atmosphere in the country.
This move comes after many recipients of the coveted Sahitya Akdemi award returned their prizes accusing the BJP government and allied elements of spreading religious differences across India.
Over 40 writers and poets have returned their awards in protest against the Akademi’s silence over recent cases of rising intolerance ranging from the murder of rationalist MM Karaburgi to lynching of a man in Dadri for allegedly storing beef.