AAP government today celebrated ‘Jashn-e-Sarso’ festival to express it opposition to GM mustard, which awaits clearance from Centre’s Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).
The ruling AAP’s position on GM mustard assumes significance in light of the party’s aggressive bid to capture political space in Punjab which goes to polls next year.
Interestingly RSS affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch also shared stage with the AAP government in protest against GM Mustard.
Delhi minister Kapil Mishra, who has been given the interim charge of Food and Civil Supplies Department, said the Delhi government plans to send public feedback and videos opposing GM mustard to the Centre.
“The Delhi Government stands by the farmers and consumers of this country….It is heartening to see the Bhartiya Kisaan Union and Bhartiya Kisaan Sangh, who have joined hands with us in opposing GM Mustard. I welcome their support for this Jashn-E-Sarson, and appreciate their stance in choosing what’s right over what’s easy.
“The Swadeshi Jagran Manch has taken the difficult path as well to fight for their India-centric economic policy, even if it means opposition of the central government under the BJP. I congratulate them for their large-heartedness towards national food safety and security,” Mishra said.
The Delhi minister said the struggle for GM Mustard is not “partisan” and AAP stands with the farmers and consumers of India.
“I appeal to every political, spiritual and religious leader to oppose GM mustard and stand by our farmers. I ask Baba Ramdev ji, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Mohan Bhagwat to fight this menace, which will destroy India’s organic mustard.
India should unite for Sarson,” an official statement said.
Speaking on the occasion, Ashwani Mahajan, co-convener of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, said,”The Swadeshi Jagran Manch has always fought for the rights of the Indian and fought multi-nationals which attempt to rob India of its riches and heritage.
“We have been called anti-national by governments when we have fought for the rights of the farmers. We have been discredited by several PR machineries and yet, the people know that we are fighting for India. Swadeshi is not just an India-centric economic policy; it is our dharma.
“The government is not listening to technologists, scientists, agriculturists, activists and fellow politicians who are all opposing GM mustard. Why is it listening only to the vested interests and GM lobbies?” he said.
Rajya Sabha MP and Senior JD(U) leader K C Tyagi said it is important that everyone rises above party lines to ensure that the government understands the true issue and the problems with GM mustard.
“I welcome the Delhi government’s festival to support organic mustard and oppose any move that puts the life and livelihood of our farmers in danger. It is important that vested interests or poor science doesn’t ruin the decision that will affect crores of farmers and consumers,” he said.
GEAC had constituted a sub-committee of experts to examine the biosafety data on GM mustard.
After the committee examined it, the report was placed on the Environment Ministry’s website inviting comments from stakeholders till October 5 before the biotech regulator takes a decision.