Activists launch agitation against GM mustard

New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) A group of activists and civil society outfits on Friday vowed to resist the entry of genetically modified (GM) mustard into India, a statement said.

Pledging to work towards ensuring seed sovereignty, biodiversity conservation, protecting farm livelihoods and food safety in the country, the group launched the “Sarson Satyagraha (mustard agitation)” at Rajghat here.

“The current opaqueness around GM mustard shows that they have something to hide,” the statement issued by the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture, one of the participating organisations said.

“If the government does not keep the interests of citizens, their health and environment at the top of its decisions, citizens will be forced to intensify their satyagraha,” it added.

While raising questions around the genuineness of the research claims around GM mustard, the experts cited data on the increased illnesses in countries like the US after the advent of GM foods.

The group also sent a letter to Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar raising important concerns related to GM mustard while deciding to initiate a public debate on the issue through public awareness creation.

The central government is yet to take a call on introduction of Genetically Modified (GM) crops in the country including GM mustard, first genetically engineered food crop in the country.

The GM mustard ‘DMH 11 (Dhara Mustard Hybrid 11)’ has been developed by the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants, University of Delhi.

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