Source: The Asian Age 27 May 1998
[Indian] Scientists to rally against Pokhran
By Jaideep V.G.
Bangalore: Members of the scientific community have
broken their fortnight-long silence and spoken
against the nuclear tests. Headed by Prof. D.P.
Sengupta of the Indian Institute of Science,
scientists are planning to set up forums involving
students and professionals to speak against the
"The initial euphoria has begun to fade away and
the full import of the blasts are hitting us now,"
said Prof. Sengupta. "Even scientists who were
celebrating the blasts have started fearing the
repercussions," he told The Asian Age.
Prof. Sengupta attributed the initial silence to
confusion. "There was no clear voice of dissent
because we refused to see the true consequence of
the blasts. We thought we scored one over America
by not submitting to its demands and felt we have
given America the right answer," he said.
Prof. Sengupta felt the Indian public had not had
cause for celebration for quite some time. "There
has not been any good news for us to celebrate. And
the blasts seemed like a tremendous achievement,"
he added. Scientists in India always knew the
country had the nuclear option and when the tests
were finally carried out, it seemed like the onus
had shifted and "it was all over at last." However,
Prof. Sengupta said: "A cold war or arms race is
the last thing this subcontinent needs. Moreover,
there is a tendency among the ultra-right wing
faction in India to take advantage of the blasts.
This is totally untenable."On the fallout of
economic sanctions, he said the governmentís
assurance that sanctions will not affect
developmental programmes is not true. "Sanctions
have already affected certain departments at IISc
and I can only see it increasing. Some projects
which are being funded by the Centre have been
scrapped as they were indirectly funded by the
USA," he said. Prof. Sengupta said incidents like
these could prepare grounds for dissent among
Though the number of scientists speaking against
the tests is small, Prof. Sengupta was confident it
would become substantial in the coming weeks. "We
will hold forums where people from various
disciplines will speak their minds about the
tests," he said. The first of these forums is to be
held on May 30 near the Reserve Bank of India on
Nrupatunga Road in the city.