Swadeshi Jagran Manch, an affiliate of the Sangh Parivar, has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the permission given in “undue haste” to cultivate GM Mustard crop, insisting that it is “unscientific, toxic and anti-biodiversity” and challenged claims that it will improve yield of edible oil.
SJM co-convenor Ashwini Mahajan has written a letter to Modi expressing ‘deep anguish’ over the recommendation made by Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) for approval to GM Mustard cultivation on the grounds that it is safe and nutritious.
He has also countered the claim that this step will increase production of edible oil and reduce the country’s import bill. “We would like to emphatically state that, this presumption is based on manipulated data, false conclusions and lobbying by vested interests,” he said in his letter.
Mahajan has also maintained that GM Mustard is not swadeshi (indigenous) as a subsidiary of a foreign company holds the product patent for it.
SJM maintains that GM Mustard has no yield advantage over Indian hybrids.
“Data from Rapeseed Mustard Research (DRMR), Bharatpur clearly show that the claim that GM mustard would increase yield by 26% is deceptive and misleading as there are several existing hybrid varieties that outperform the transgenic variety DMH-11,” Mahajan said.
SJM has questioned the claim that GM Mustard would get valuable foreign exchange and made the point that the royalty payment by the developer to the company holding the patent has not been factored in. SJM has also alleged that no longterm or feeding tests have been conducted on the crop to ascertain its effect on humans and animals.
SJM, which is a sister organisation of BJP, has underlined in its letter to the PM that the matter is sub-judice in the Supreme Court.
‘ “Swadeshi Jagran Manch sincerely appeals to you to intervene in the matter and ensure that no permission is given to GM mustard,” Mahajan said.