Farmers’ Protest: Punjab Scientist Refuses Award From Union Min

Dr Varinder Pal Singh is a principal soil chemist at the Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana.

2 min read
A principal soil chemist at Ludhiana’s Punjab Agricultural University, Dr Varinder Pal Singh, was to be awarded by the Fertiliser Association of India.

Punjab agriculture scientist Dr Varinder Pal Singh on Monday, 8 December, refused to accept an award by the Centre as a mark of support to farmers protesting against the controversial agricultural laws. He said his conscience would not allow to do so at such a time.

A principal soil chemist at the Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana, Dr Singh was to be awarded by the Fertiliser Association of India for his work in the field of plant nutrition. At an event in Delhi on 7 December, he was to receive the award from Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister DV Sadananda Gowda.

“My conscious does not allow me to receive this award from any government official, because of unnecessary pains given by the GOI (Government of India) to the peacefully protesting Indian farmers (sic),” he wrote, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“I wish that we shall work together for the nation and the government shall listen to our dear farmers. The work I did is only for the farmers and our nation, so I feel I would be guilty if at this moment I receive this award,” he added.

While he was repeatedly urged to accept the award, as the minister was already standing on the stage, the scientist refused.

In a separate letter to Sadananda Gowda, Dr Singh said that receiving the award “for the sake of professional benefit would be a betrayal” to the farmers and the country.

Many celebrities have returned their awards over the last few days as a mark of their solidarity with the farmers. Former Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal returned his Padma Vibhushan, while Olympic medalist boxer Vijender Singh has said that he would return the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.

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