More than 100,000 Indians fast against GM crops
EXTRACT: "Remember the Mahatma, Stop Bt Brinjal and Protect India's Seed & Food Sovereignty" was their message.
MORE THAN A LAKH INDIANS OBSERVE A ONE-DAY FAST ON MARTYRS' DAY TO STOP BT BRINJAL AND TO PROTECT INDIA'S FOOD SOVEREIGNTY
New Delhi, 30th January, 2010: On Martyrs' day today, more than one lakh Indians observed a one-day fast to emphasise that the hard-won independence led by Mahatma Gandhi cannot be lost now to agri-business MNCs, with their technologies like GM seeds. Thousands who observed the one-day fast throughout the country sought to remember the Mahatma's dream of Hind Swaraj and to uphold the food sovereignty of the country from the onslaught of technologies like GM seeds. "Remember the Mahatma, Stop Bt Brinjal and Protect India's Seed & Food Sovereignty" was their message.
In Kerala, more than one lakh [100,000] people fasted around the state and the Kerala Agriculture Minister joined them in this effort. The fast was undertaken by thousands of Indians in the states of Bihar, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Uttarkhand and West Bengal. More than 700 people in Lucknow, 600 in Fatehpur, 100 in Siddharthnagar, 100 in Jalone, 50 in Gorakhpur, 200 in Bangalore, 150 in Chandigarh, 400 in Patna, 400 in Gujarat, 150 in Muzaffarpur and 100 in Hyderabad joined this nation-wide fast to mark Martyrs' Day. A rally was taken out in Ahmedabad on the occasion.
In Delhi, around one hundred people joined a candle-light vigil at Jantar Mantar and later, walked to Raj Ghat to pay their homage to the Mahatma. In Orissa, more than eight thousand people in twelve districts observed the National Day of Fast in districts like Baripada, Sundargarh, Malkangiri, Phulbani, Koraput etc.
"Today we remember Gandhiji and Hind Swaraj. We fast in order to prevent profit-hungry corporations from taking control of our food and seed system through GM crops like Bt brinjal. We fast to stop insertion of genetic material that makes the brinjal plant produce Bt toxin. We fast because the Committee that cleared Bt Brinjal violated both science and ethics - based on inadequate tests, overlooking the deaths of animals grazing in Bt cotton fields and data that indicated harmful effects of Bt food on liver, kidney and other functions, and based on the votes of members closely associated with the industry. We fast because if we believe in the true meaning of Swaraj, we should not let India's farmers lose control over their seed and agriculture, and its citizens lose control over the food they eat. We fast because GM technology comes with many risks to environment and bio-safety, and it is fundamentally unwise to introduce this into the food chain of billions of people and into the environment on a large scale", said the special website set up for the purpose called www.brinjal.org.
"It is 62 years since we lost Mahatma Gandhi. Every year, the nation remembers him on this day, reminds itself on the struggle that the Mahatma led to free us from the clutches of colonial powers, reminds itself of his philosophies and values and his dreams about a self-reliant and Independent India. About Hind Swaraj. Through Satyagraha. Today, India's Sovereignty is at stake again. Bt Brinjal, a poisonous genetically modified (GM) food crop that can threaten life itself, cripple the environment and economy and destroy India's national biodiversity as well as self-reliance has been given regulatory approval. The colonial powers that kept us in control have reassembled themselves to destroy and take control of our most precious strength our food. This is the new "Food Weapon" against which a Nation must respond now, in the same emotional and spiritual manner that the Mahatma taught us", said Sharib Hussain, a 20-year old student in Delhi.
For more information, contact:
1. Nayani Nasa, (0) 99-997-78674
2. Selva Ganapathy, (0) 98-913-58457