|Dear Dr Manmohan Singh
Bt Brinjal, the first ever food crop with an alien toxic gene to be introduced for human consumption anywhere in the world was a subject of a nation-wide debate last year. Scientific data and reports reveal that such GM foods could cause irreversible damage to the environment, consumer health and Indian agriculture.
Furthermore, insufficient research of the impacts, unscientific test protocols, conflicting interests at all levels of decision-making, opaque & undemocratic functioning of regulators and the lack of independent bio-safety tests conceal the full truth about the hazards of GM technology. Even in the case of Bt brinjal, fresh analyses of crop developer's biosafety data by independent scientists shows that it is unsafe for human consumption, that the applicants have masked important findings that show potential adverse impacts and the regulators chose to ignore these too. Ever-emerging evidence from across the world, meanwhile, is also pointing to various negative effects of GM crops.
The recent scandal of a report on bio-safety of GM food crops by six Science Academies, seeking a limited release of Bt Brinjal based on plagiarized views and conflicting interests further reinforces the public’s legitimate distrust in the scientific establishment and the regulators. It further vindicates our stand that Indians are being made lab rats of, in this irresponsible and irreversible experiment on all of us.
When the Government of India decided to place a moratorium on the release of Bt Brinjal in early-2010, citizens in this country welcomed the decision. However, some of the recent developments including dozens of open-air field trials being allowed around the country make us believe that the Government of India continues to go against people’s interests and wishes on this matter.
There are concerns about monopolies of MNCs on our seeds, food and farming systems. The citizens have a right to safe food and a right to make informed choices about something as basic as Food. This would get violated if GM foods are approved.
It is in this background that we found your recent statement on Golden Rice in an international conference on “Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health” completely unsubstantiated, unscientific and against the democratic views of Indians and against the vision of sustainable development of all Indians.
We, the citizens of this great democratic republic appeal to you and the Government of India to stop the entry of such hazardous novel foods into the Indian food and farming systems, and instead revive sustainable, pro-farmer and pro-environment agriculture techniques. We urge you and the Government of India to not make Indians into laboratory rats in this gigantic, irreversible, unsafe and unaccountable experiment and to stop all deliberate environmental releases of GMOs in our food and farming.