Chennai: Voicing concern over incidents of intolerance, including the killing of Kannada thinker M M Kalburgi, a group of scientists has petitioned President Pranab Mukherjee, urging him to initiate "suitable actions".
Holding that a highly polarised community is like a nuclear bomb close to criticality, they also appealed to the Centre and state governments to act against "anti-human, anti-civilisational act."
"We, the scientists, are concerned about the recent developments with reference to intolerance, polarisation and spread of communal hatred resulting in the death of innocent people, rationalists," they said.
The petition, signed by scientists and academicians including Naresh Dadich, former Director of Pune-based The Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) and G Rajasekaran of The Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) besides some from Jawaharlal Nehru University and Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad, lauded the President advising people to show respect for all thoughts.
"We urge you to take serious note of these developments and initiate suitable actions," it said.
In a separate petition to the Centre, state governments and people at large, they appealed to "stop the spread of communal hatred and polarisation in society," pointing out that India had been a plural country where communities allowed space for each other.
"A highly polarised community is like a nuclear bomb close to criticality. It can explode any time and drive the nation to utter chaos. This is a highly unstable atmosphere and we should do everything in our hands to defuse the disparity, and enlighten society in scientific spirit," it said.
"This is an appeal to the government to act swiftly to stop this mayhem which is victimising innocent people for eating beef, sensible people for being against superstition, RTI activists or whistle blowers and many more innocent people with human values."
"It is not just victimising innocent and enlightened people but killing them," the petition said, a copy of which was released to the media today.
Referring to many writers returning their Sahitya Akademi awards to protest "against the current events," the statement said the scientific community, however, seemed to remain "passive."
"But scientists are also part of society and it is times like this that call upon them to be conscientious citizens and voice their concern. This is to start a campaign for scientists in, India to wake up and and make a statement," it added.