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Scientist PM Bhargava to return Padma Bhushan, says worried over India’s future

Mumbai: Joining the bandwagon of writers and artists, eminent Indian scientist PM Bhargava on Thursday said he will return his Padma Bhushan award in protest against the “growing intolerance in the country”.

Scientist PM Bhargava

Speaking to a leading daily, the founder-director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) said, “If the present trend continued, India will cease to become a democracy and become a theocratic country like Pakistan. The future of democracy is at stake. I am very concerned about it.”

Bhargava also expressed concern that “RSS people” had attended a recent meeting of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research labs. He was critical of the government’s decision to reduce funding of the CSIR labs, reported The Hindu.

This comes hours after the eminent filmmakers Dibakar Banerjee, Anand Patwardhan and eight others returned their National Awards in solidarity with the protesting FTII students and against growing intolerance in the country.

Related read: Returning award is the most ‘intolerant act’, says filmmaker Ashoke Pandit

Film directors Dibakar Banerjee, Paresh Kamdar, Lipika Singh, Nishtha Jain, Anand Patwardhan, Kirti Nakhwa, Harshvardhan Kulkarni, Hari Nair, Indrani Lahiri and Rakesh Sharma have returned their awards in protest of the FTII issue and also against the killing of rationalists and writers like Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi.

The 87-year-old also said he finds statements by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh cheif Mohan Bhagwat that women should restrict themselves to doing household chores, as “detestable”, reported IANS.

In India, he said, scientists’ fraternity is socially insensitive. “I hope the decision taken by me would at least sensitise them towards the alarming situation in the country. Scientists cannot be silent or ignore things happening around,” he said speaking to Express.

Bhargava said he will meet the home secretary and give back the award. He also encouraged the youth brigade in the scientific community to come forward and protest.

Also read: Sahitya Akademi row: Padma Shri awardee Maria Aurora Couto responds to charges of hypocrisy

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