"What is happening is a travesty of history. Traditionally, writers, artists and intellectuals are expected to contribute their might to uniting society and not become a party to any kind of process or a phenomenon which tends to divide society," Singh told reporters.

Singh also said there were ample examples in recent history when artists, libertarians and intellectuals had come forward to undo any kind of atmosphere that tended to create strife in society.

Taking strong exception to scientists returning their awards, Singh said some of the eminent scientists, including Madhavan Nair, UR Rao and Shekhar Basu have expressed their displeasure about this trend.

"Many more scientists are conveying their disassociation from this kind of a process," he added. Singh further said that the scientific fraternity is expected to concentrate on scientific experimentation and achievements instead of playing politics.

Historians today joined writers, filmmakers and scientists in growing protests against what they called a 'climate of intolerance'.

Top scientist P M Bhargava cited he will return his Padma Bhushan award, alleging that the NDA Government at the Centre was trying to make India into a 'Hindu religious autocracy'. Several more scientists have joined the wave of protests by Indian intelligentsia.

About 53 historians, including Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, K N Pannikar and Mridula Mukherjee have criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not issuing a "reassuring statement" to allay the concerns over what they called a "highly vitiated atmosphere" prevailing in the country.

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