After writers, artists and filmmakers, now an eminent scientist has joined the bandwagon returning their awards to protest against the growing intolerance and violence in the society. Announcing his decision to return his Padma Bhushan, PM Bhargava on Thursday said he will not let democracy in India to be replaced by religious dictatorship.
"The government and the RSS is trying to dictate what we eat and do. This constraint on my freedom is something I do not like, so the most I can do in protest is return my award," Bhargava said.
Bhargava, who was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1986, is the founder-director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB). He said religious beliefs are personal choices and should not interfere in politics.
"The fear as we see in democracy today... the spread of Hindutva... I believe that (religion) really is a personal matter. It should stay as a personal matter. It should not make incursions into politics as it is doing now," he said, adding that he cannot let "our democracy be replaced with religious dictatorship".
Bhargava said he will meet the Home Secretary and give back the award. He also encouraged the youth in the scientific community to come forward and protest.
The veteran researcher is also behind the online petition signed by over 100 scientists and sent to President Pranab Mukhrejee against growing intolerance.