Centre slammed for naming new RGCB campus after RSS leader
RGCB campus: Kerala outfits and parties have condemned Centre’s move to name new RGCB campus after MS Golwalkar
Leading political parties are opposing Central government’s move to name the second campus of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) in Thiruvananthapuram after RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) ideologue M S Golwalkar.
Last week, Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan announced that the second RGCB campus will be named after late RSS ideologue M S Golwalkar.
The research facility will be named as ”Shri Guruji Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar National Centre for Complex Disease in Cancer and Viral Infection’‘, Dr Vardhan had said while addressing a virtual curtain-raiser session of the sixth edition of India International Science Festival (IISF) on Friday.
However, the Modi government’s decision has started a political tug of war between the BJP and opposition parties in Kerala. Amid the ongoing political unrest, progressive outfits including All India People’s Science Network (AIPSN) and Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) have also condemned the Union government’s move.
Releasing a statement over the development, AIPSN slammed the government for changing the name of a modern research institute after the name of an individual who was against modern technology. AIPSN General Secretary P Rajamanickam also urged the government to name the second campus of RGCB after a reputed scientist in the field of biotechnology if required.
“We urge the Centre to respect the opinion of the Kerala government, main opposition party and sentiments of the people of the state,” he added, as quoted by media reports.
In a similar statement, KSSP said that the Centre’s move was “highly reprehensible”. Demanding immediate removal of the decision, the Kerala-based outfit stated that the Union government’s move was a disrespect for constitutional values of science and equality for all human beings.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has also written a letter to Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, urging him to reconsider he decision.
Earlier, Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) opposed the Centre’s move, calling for the government to name the new institute after a scientist.
In response, Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor shared a Facebook post in which he called Golwalkar an “obscurantist idealogue of no scientific achievement or contribution to public health.” Shashi Tharoor further suggested the name of renowned bacteriologist Dr P Palpu for the new institute.
Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala wrote a letter to PM Modi urging to preserve the name of late PM Rajiv Gandhi for the institute.
Responding to the criticism, BJP leader and Union Minister V Muraleedharan tried to justify the government’s move, stating that there was nothing wrong in naming the institute after a “patriot”.