Protest Against GMOs: Saving the Brinjal As We Know It
Protest call by Kavitha Kuruganti (Center for Sustainable Agriculture) on behalf of the ‘Coalition for GM Free India’
The anti-GM battle in India has reached a crucial stage. Mahyco, the Indian avatar of Monsanto, would be walking up to the regulators for permission for the second year of large scale trials of Bt Brinjal this Kharif season, the first food crop in India and the first such GM vegetable crop with Bt gene anywhere in the world. At another level, a vast majority of Indians have not yet engaged themselves with the issue of GM crops even though it involves a very basic issue that pertains to all of us – Food Safety. Most of us seem to be very content allowing some regulators and policy-makers somewhere to take the right decisions on behalf of all of us!
Elsewhere in the world, especially Europe, more countries are clamping bans on GM crops. More regions are declaring themselves GM-Free. In India, the central government is steamrollering ahead, with its support to the biotech industry and showing its lack of vision for Indian farming again and again. Certain state governments are fortunately taking a long term, holistic view on genetic engineering and are appreciating the environmental, human health, political, economic and socio-cultural implications of such a technology on Indian farming and society. However, the Union of India is not upholding even this Constitutional right of state governments and is blindly moving ahead with its approvals of various crop trials and experiments.
Bt Brinjal’s biosafety is questionable – in fact, we should not forget that the results of genetic engineering itself are very unpredictable and the very process of GE results in different unintended hazardous consequences. With Bt Cotton, the experiences of farmers across the country, as recorded by official sources too, range from newer and increased number of pests and diseases to fatal impacts on livestock, effects on human health and effects on soil with hardly any benefits as claimed by the industry. The stress intolerance of crops like Bt Cotton has also been recorded time and again. In this era of climate change, is this the technology that we want to rest our food and nutrition security on?
The regulators sitting in Delhi have also proven themselves to be unaccountable, unscientific, wedded to conflicting interests and apathetic to the real experiences of farmers on the ground. If we continue to keep silent, more of this undemocratic thrusting down of unwanted, corporate technologies will continue to smother Indian farming as well as all of us – after all, you and I will not have any choices left if Bt Brinjal and other GM foods is allowed in. In this country, No systems of labelling will let you know if you are consuming Bt Brinjal or not.
It is in this context that we invite all right-thinking, pro-farmer, concerned citizens to assemble at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on MAY 6th 2008, for a one-day dharna, starting from 10.30 am.
Invitation: Anti-GMO Rally and Play by Jaya Iyer
while we use fancy cleaners ensure our floor is clean- hygienic – scrub our furnitures – squeeky clean with disinfectants, and use cosmetics which are gentle and cleansing – our clothes, cars – everything clean – and yet how little we care about the very food we eat – for fruits and vegetables are laced with toxins which is more than skin deep – and now the toxin/poison is not outside -not sprayed on the food – but inside it – built into every cell- every gene- thats GM –
genes from bacteria that kills worms in cotton and in brinjal – then our own bhindi/ tomato/ makki….the list goes on –
and the trouble is we dont even know about them- there is no information about them – to the farmers who grow them and to the people who consume it –
if you feel strong enough about this – take out some time- join us on the 6th May at Janatar Mantar -the rally is a day long affair and there are plays planned around 12.00- 3.00 PM
there are over 1000 farmers from all over the country coming in there – and Delhi faces would be nice to see – as activist and as concerned individuals…
hope to see you there – stay GM free
Centre for Sustainable Agriculture
12-13-445, Street # 1, Tarnaka
Secunderabad 500 017