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Indian Science Congress ‘indefinitely postponed’

Osmania University  

For the first time in its 105-year history, the Indian Science Congress(ISC) — the largest congregation of Indian scientists — has been indefinitely postponed barely two weeks before it was to commence. This is due to “security problems” at the Osmania University, Hyderabad where the event was to be organised between the January 3 and 7 next year.

The ISC is traditionally the first public function the Prime Minister addresses in the calendar year.

“Vice Chancellor of Osmania Universty has informed that they are not in a position to host 105th Indian Science Congress scheduled from 3-7 January, 2018 due to certain issues in the campus,” reads a short statement on the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) website.

Student unrest has rattled the university since December 3 last year, reportedly after the suicide of a student.

A senior ISCA official told The Hindu that a meeting on December 27 was on the anvil to decide on a new venue and date. “There are some security problems and possible student agitation but discussions are on with the Vice Chancellor of the university,” Gangadhar, Secretary, Scientific Affairs, told The Hindu.

Another official in the Science Ministry, who didn’t want to be identified, said that there were some “structural changes” under way in the organisation of the Congress and that the closing of the Winter Session of Parliament overlapped with the opening days of the Congress. This meant that the Prime Minister “may have to skip” the Congress.

The choice of venue of a science congress is usually decided a year in advance and preparations are a massive logistical exercise that involves coordinating the visit of several Nobel Laureates, heads of Indian science academies and thousands of students.

In recent years, the Science Congress has also got flak for being a forum that promoted pseudo science, such as in 2014, when a session on mythology and Vedic-era airplanes was a highlight of the event. India-born Chemistry Laureate, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan had castigated the ISC as a “circus.”

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 6:59:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indian-science-congress-indefinitely-postponed/article22121503.ece

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