NOTE: The first political party in India to come out unequivocally against GM crops were the PMK, but now a second political party at a massive rally in Tamil Nadu is calling for an immediate ban.
From Kavitha Kuruganti of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture:
After the PMK in Tamil Nadu, it is now the turn of the AIADMK to take a firm stand against GM crops and to demand an immediate ban on GM crops.
I am attaching a translated news item from a tamil daily below about a huge rally (reportedly attended by around eight thousand farmers) that took place on May 5th 2007 in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. The local papers carried the story prominently with the following paper printing a prominent photo of the rally on the front page. For more information, contact Mr Vettavalam Manikandan, President, Indian Farmers' & Toilers' Party at +91-98-411-60057.
AIADMK Protests in Coimbatore
-Protest criticizes DMK for not banning GM seeds
-Headed by Muthuswamy, AIADMK MLAs and farmers participate
Coimbatore, May 5th 2007: Prominent AIADMK [All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam] leaders protested here against the DMK government's inaction and demanded an immediate ban on GM seeds. Led by Mr Muthuswamy, Secretary, AIADMK, Members of Legislative Assembly [MLAs], party workers and farmers participated in a protest rally here today. The District President of AIADMK Mr Veluswamy, MLA, presided.
Ms Jayalalithaa, party chief of AIADMK will soon be explaining why GM crops should be banned, said Mr Muthuswamy. Our traditional cropping patterns and people's health will be affected adversely by the Central government introducing GM crops, he charged.
Impacts on soil health:
Bt Rice seed is expected to affect the environment, soil fertility and other life forms adversely; apart from this, these seeds make our food poisonous. That this seed increases rice productivity is a blatant lie.
A scientist from Scotland had studied the impacts of GM food and found that it has potential adverse effects on human health.
Agricultural produce from these crops will be rejected in export markets.
No use in developed countries:
People in developed countries are also not using GM crops and in the interest of public health, the government has to immediately ban GM seeds in India. Since Tamil Nadu government has not taken any measures towards this, despite being part of the Coalition at the Centre, this meeting has been organized against the Tamil Nadu's inaction in the matter, said Ms Jayalalithaa.
The participants included: S Muthuswamy, District Secretaries: S M Veluswamy (MLA), Pollachi Jayaraman, (MLA), Tirupur Sivasamy, Damodaran, Ex-Minister in the AIADMK government etc.
Front page Photo caption: Protest by AIADMK against state and central government asking for a ban on GM seeds. (photo shows the AIADMK leaders addressing the gathering)
[Translation of major portions of a news item in tamil in "Makkal Kural" daily (People's Voice), 5th May 2007]