In the escalating “award returning” protest, top scientist and founder of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Pushpa Mittra Bhargava, has decided to return his Padma Bhushan award, joining the protests of writers, artists and filmmakers.
“The Padma Bhushan had a special place in my collection of more than 100 awards for science. Now I feel no sentimental attachment to it when the government tries to institutionalise religion and curtail freedom and scientific spirit. I hope young scientists too will raise their voice,” he was quoted as saying in a TOI report.
On Tuesday, over 100 senior scientists had also signed an online petition over the same issue. Bhargava was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1986.
Recently, ten Indian filmmakers have also returned national awards in protest at what they say is a rising climate of intolerance. The group includes prominent directors Dibakar Banerjee and Anant Patwardhan. They made the announcement in a press conference in Mumbai, expressing solidarity with the FTII students who are demanding removal of BJP’s Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of the Pune-based institution.
Bollywood veteran actor Anupam Kher, in a twitter post, said: “Some of these usual suspects of #AwardWapsiGang were instrumental in getting me out of Censor Board d moment Congress came in Power. #Agenda .”
“Some more usual suspects who never wanted @narendramodi to become PM in d first place have joined the #AwardWapsi gang. Jai Ho.:) ,” Kher said, in another post.