Eminent Indian scientist P.M. Bhargava on Thursday said he will return his Padma Bhushan award in protest against the "growing intolerance in the country".
Bhargava, who was the founder-director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), 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 told IANS.
The 87-year-old said he also finds statements by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat that women should restrict themselves to doing household chores, as "detestable".
Bhargava said he will meet the home secretary and give back the award. He also encouraged the youth brigade in the scientific community to come forward and protest.
Incidentally, the veteran researcher is one of the scientists who started the online petition on Tuesday, signed by atleast 100 senior scientists, addressed to President Pranab Mukhrejee against growing intolerance.