The Sangh Parivar has opposed the move of a government committee to approve field trials of genetically modified mustard, claiming that it is “neither indigenous nor safe”. The RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has also urged the government to take cognizance of the committee’s action when it is aware that there is so much opposition to the introduction of GM mustard.
Under the Union Environment Ministry, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has approved seed production “before commercial release” of India’s first indigenously developed transgenic hybrid mustard. This opens up possibilities for India’s first genetically modified (GM) food crop by farmers.
The country’s regulator for GM organisms, in its meeting on October 18, recommended: the “environmental release” of the transgenic mustard hybrid DMH-11, developed by the Center for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants at the University of Delhi.
GEAC has been making such recommendations since 2016. He was the first to recommend the commercial release of GM mustard. Earlier also during this government, field trials were approved by this committee for some other GM crops. The ministry did not support them. The government should not even allow this. We have opposed it in the past and will continue to fight it. But the government should look into the actions of GEAC. Why it gives such approval when there is so much opposition to GM mustard for legitimate reasons, Ashwini Mahajan, convener of SJM, told The Deccan Era.
“GM mustard is neither indigenous nor safe. It is neither good for health nor the environment. It is herb-tolerant mustard, and hence there will be more use of herbicides proven to be carcinogenic. How can GEAC grant such approval when it is proven that glyphosate is carcinogenic?
SJM has been firm in its opposition to GM Mustard. It issued similar statements in 2017 and even wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which he called for the withdrawal of permission given in “unreasonable haste” to cultivate the GM mustard crop. It said it was “unscientific, toxic and biodegradable”.