With eminent filmmakers returning their National Awards and writers returning their Sahitya Akademi awards, the latest intelligentsia to join this movement of protest are scientists. The Inter-Academy Panel On Ethics In Science (IAPES) issued a statement on Tuesday, 27th October, 2015, voicing concerns on how the country’s scientific temper was “eroded by several statements and actions which run counter to this constitutional requirement.” 135 scientists also signed an online petition addressed to the President protesting against the growing intolerance in the country. Today (29th October), P M Bhargava, former founder-director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) announced that he will be returning his Padma Bhushan at a time when, “Modi government is giving room for communalists and fringe groups to divide the country based on religion.”
This trend of scientists openly protesting against the government is new. The scientific community remained largely silent when Madhavan Nair, the former Head of ISRO was barred from holding any post by the Government in 2012. So what motivated scientists to raise their voice against the government this time around? According to Amitabh Sinha, Senior Editor and Amrith Lal, Associate Editor of The Indian Express, it is a direct attack on scientific temper and rationality and the core values that science represents, that has motivated this protest. Amitabh, Amrith Lal and Raghvendra Rao from The Indian Express analyse these protests and the reason for the scientific community’s anger against the Government in this video.