Dr Vandana Shiva speaks at the opening session of the People's Assembly at The Hague.
Ronnie Cummins speaking at the People's Assembly
Andre Leu speaking at People's Assembly at the The Hague 14th October, 2016
People’s Assembly New Delhi: “GM Mustard: Emerging Issues”
Over 124 farmer groups, scientists, senior lawyers and activist joined with Dr Vandana Shiva, Navdanya and Swadeshi Jagran Manch to organise a national All India People’s Assembly against GM Mustard. Altogether the various groups represented over 10 millions farmers, along with millions of other Indians.
The People’s Assembly was held at Constitution Club, New Delhi on September 30th 2016. Some of the key experts at the meeting were french molecular biology and world’s top scientist on GM biosafety- Dr Eric Seralini, environmental Dr Vandana Shiva, Nicolas Hulot, President of the Nicolas Hulot foundation, Senior scientist Dr Pushpa Bhargava, former and founding director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan,Aruna Rodriguez, lead petitioner in the GM case in the Indian Supreme Court, Dr Krishan Bir Chaudhary, President of Bhartiya Krishak Samaj.
The three hour meeting saw the coming together of Indian and international experts on GMOs to discuss key emerging issues related to GM Mustard- agronomical, socio-economic, biosafety and Health and IPRs. Under corporate pressure, the Indian government may very soon commercially release GM mustard, making it the first the food GM crop in India.
This decision threatens the livelihoods not only for millions of India’s farmers & seed breeders but the herbicide tolerant Mustard will have devastating effect on all Indians and Indian biodiversity.
“Today, India needs to also discriminate between real science and pseudo corporate driven propaganda. Only by embracing the Swadeshi philosophy and Vasudeva Kutumbhakam, Earth Family and can all people of the world free themselves of the toxic poison making corporations,” Dr Vandana Shiva said.
“Only by embracing the Earth family and the Swadeshi philosophy can any individual of the world be free of the corporate control on food and life,” she added.
All aspects of GM mustard ranging from health, agronomical, socio-economic and IPR were discussed in detail during the Assembly.
Scientist Dr. Puspha Bhargav stated that “There is diabolical attack on India with much larger implications than with GM mustard than Bt Brinjal. The biosafety report is unsigned, and it is impossible that GEAC can go through the entire document in eight hours. I have heard that Indian Prime Minister Modi has met Deepak Pental(Developer of India’s DHM-11) and emphasized GM mustard must be passed before this planting season. If GM mustard is passed, we shall no longer be a free country. Our entire country will be under control of foreign MNCs.”
While beekeepers, doctors and farmers are protesting all over the country, state governments such as Bihar have made strong statements condemning the decision to release GM mustard. The protest have increased since the Biosafety report of Indian GM Mustard came out earlier this September.
Commenting on the biosafety dossier Dr. Eric Seralini said, “ I am shocked that they are about to commercialize GM mustard and yet no one has asked the university for blood analysis or the feeding studies. GM crops and herbicides have long term health affects and three month study is not enough. I strongly urge the people of India to be scientific and ask for all data to be made public.”
Apart from the Biosafety and Health, the IPR issue was central to the GM Mustard debate, Delhi university Prof Deepak Pental claims to be developer of DMH-11 GM mustard, but Bayer owns the patent on the bar/basta /barnase gene system that was used in the development of the DMH-11.
“Deepak Pental should tell us who owns the patent on the bar/basta/barnase gene system? We know it is Bayer. We should stop this charade and demand all data on the patents be made public, claimed Dr. Vandana Shiva, Environmentalist.
Ashwani Mahajan, National Convenor for Swadeshi Jagran Manch said, “We stand to protect India and all her traditions especially those of her farmers, her villages. Swadeshi Jagran Manch has fought foreign imperialism and corporate propaganda and this meeting is a platform for all discussions on the key aspects of GM mustard and spread awareness among people of India about the real dangers of GM mustard. We know if GM Mustard is released, it will only profit Bayer (Bayer has just bought out Monsanto) and not India’s people, farmers or biodiversity.”
The verdict of the meeting was that Monsanto along with all other poison makers such as Bayer, DuPont, Dow, et al are guilty for their crimes against India and the world. After the assembly a declaration was released seeking ban on “all GM crops including GM mustard”, and raised question on the covert secrecy of procedure with GM mustard.
All the members found them guilt of the imposing a new imperialism on Indian food security and India and demanded for a complete boycott of Monsanto along with other toxic producing corporations.
People’s Assembly Declaration, New Delhi, 30 September 2016