Hundreds of students here on Wednesday staged a symbolic protest under the banner of the National Student Union of India (NSUI) condemning the rumours of shifting of Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Indian Human Space Flight Programme from Karnataka to Gujarat.
State Congress president D.K. Shivakumar, who spearheaded the agitation, said: “ISRO institution is the pride of Karnataka which is a knowledge and technical based center. We have to protect it from shifting,” he stated.
“I have documents to prove that the project is being shifted to Gujarat. Why have they stopped recruitments? Why have they stalled further activities? There is a lot of information about it on the website. Let ISRO come out in the open and clarify that there is no shifting of Indian Human Space Flight Programme to Gujarat,” he demanded.
“I condemn the statement of ISRO Chairperson K. Sivan that the place doesn’t matter when they work for India. I don’t have anything against him. He has to work as per the instruction of political bosses and the Prime Minister. He should take back his statement,” he said.
“We have got internal inputs with regards to what is happening within ISRO. I have written letters to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. I urge all 25 BJP MPs, 12 Rajya Sabha members from the state to meet the Prime Minister and stop shifting of ISRO to Gujarat,” he said.
“If we let this programme to shift, it is as good as selling the self respect of the state. This institution is the future of students. It is a knowledge base centre of India. The documents show that there are attempts to privatise ISRO stage by stage. The students of all colleges will protest if that happens. If at all they want to shift, let them shift it to Mangaluru or Karwar cities in Karnataka, they are also very much part of India,” he demanded.
The students are being threatened with arrest for staging a protest against shifting of the project to Gujarat. “We don’t fear arrest and police also. We are ready to do what is required for the wellbeing of the state,” he added.
Shivakumar had written letters to the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on alleged shifting of Indian Human Space Flight Programme.
In his letter he explained that the Indian Human Space Flight Programme was initiated in 2007 by ISRO to develop the technology needed to launch crewed orbital space-craft into low earth orbit. It is responsible for implementation of the “Gaganyan” project.
The agency has also planned the first flight on a home grown GSLV-in Rocket. If completed on schedule, India will become the fourth nation in the world to launch independent space-flight after the US, Soviet Union and China. It is a prestigious and epoch-making project. The people of Karnataka are very very proud of this project, he said.
“You are aware that people of Karnataka are very emotional and get attached to national programmes and feel proud when Karnataka hosts such programmes,” he noted.
The Kannadigas are severely hurt and shocked to know that there are plans to shift this prestigious programme to Gujarat state. If it happens, the Kannadigas will feel that the federal government is ignoring, betraying and giving scant respect to the feelings of local people, he said.
Already there is an outrage over step motherly treatment being meted out to Karnataka state by the Centre in several spheres. The move will cause adverse effects on consolidation of the federal system in the nation, he maintained.
He demanded that the proposal be dropped from shifting the programme from Karnataka to Gujarat in his letter.