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Indian Science Congress in Telangana – A lost opportunity!

Venkatram Reddy Sureddy

Telangana lost its opportunity to host its first Indian Science Congress (ISC). The 105th session of the prestigious ISC was scheduled to happen in Osmania University (OU) in Jan 2018. Unfortunately, fear of dissent and student protests made OU back out – the first time in the history of ISC – and Manipur University got the honor of hosting it this month.

While Telangana state government states it is no way involved in organizing or cancelling of this event, certainly the insecurity of the government in facing student protests near to the general elections in 2019 casts suspicions on the government’s motives. The other directives of the state government to ban any form of protests in Hyderabad near Indira Park / Tank Bund area located in the central part of the city only make these suspicions stronger. Even during the World Telugu Conference that happened in Hyderabad in Dec 2017, government was intolerant towards any form of protests.

It is very unfortunate that TRS government today has become intolerant of any form of protest to such an extent that a prestigious ISC session where Nobel laureates huddle has been cancelled. The government fails to understand that a protest is not necessarily a bad thing in democracy. Maybe bad for the ruling party but not for the people, state or science. For instance, World Economic Forum that happens annually in Davos, Switzerland always sees a parallel protest movement there.

A famous proverb in Telugu says water under the carpet will anyway flow. Protests too are the same, the more they are crushed, the more they will arise. I think it is very much needed today that TRS government addresses the underlying issues behind the protests and not run away from them. Otherwise, people are bound to teach a lesson to TRS one way or the other!