Is PM Modi Pushing for GM Mustard? Swadeshi Activists Resist GMO

India is on the verge of a very critical decision right now: to sell out swadeshi mustard to Bayer’s mustard or not? The genetically modified (GM) mustard question is secretly causing splinters within the BJP-RSS and our present government.

As a result, Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, has already spoken out against GM Mustard. The RSS-linked Swadeshi Jagran Manch, one of India’s largest economic democracy organisations, is already opposing the introduction by all means necessary.

How deep is the GM Mustard rabbit hole? In the context of this genetically modified organism (GMO), a deeper dilemma envelops most party bosses and workers. Does one stand for the party or stand for their own health and food?

What makes this matter slightly strange is that the Supreme Court is also hearing a case on the “agronomic fraud” in the GM mustard case, and have even given an interim injunction against the approval of this herbicide-tolerant (HT) GMO, but apparently, forces within the government are pushing for a speedy clearance. The “rumour” is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is directly pushing for GM Mustard, and Niti Ayog and the PMO were deeply involved in putting pressure on the late Minister of Environment Anil Madhav Dave and the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).

“No” is not an answer they are ready to hear. Aruna Rodrigues, lead petitioner in the GM Mustard Case in the SC, even told the media that the Niti Ayog is directly involved in pushing this HT GM Mustard, and it is perhaps a natural conclusion that PM Modi and the Prime Minister’s Office had given this instruction.

But we can’t always trust the smoke and call it fire, can we? Regarding this matter, I spoke with party insiders including late Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave; Ashwani Mahajan, National Co-Convenor, Swadeshi Jagran Manch; and Dr Krishan Bir Chaudhary, President Bhartiya Krishak Samaj (who was also an expert witness in the Hague at the Monsanto Tribunal in October 2016).

GMO Not From the PMO

“Our Prime minister Narendra Modi is a very honest and hardworking man, who thinks in India’s best interest. We will never allow the unleashing of this poisonous junk technology in India. We trust him one hundred percent.”

Ashwani Mahajan, National Co-Convenor, Swadeshi Jagran Manch

Mahajan seemed very clear that first of all this was not swadeshi GM Mustard, but actually Bayer’s Mustard. He said:

If you simply look at the patents and ownership of the technology used in the making of this mustard, it all belongs to Bayer/Monsanto. This GMO has been made resistant to Bayer herbicide glufosinate. Now the question to ask is, why would Indian scientists engineer a mustard tolerant to foreign herbicide?

Globally, Europe is about to ban glufosinate because it is a known neurotoxin and Mahajan, like millions of other devout swadeshi activists, doesn’t want India to be looted again by western corporations and MNCs. It is feared that not only will the GM Mustard destroy India’s native mustard, but unleash irreversible damage to public health biodiveristy and the rural oil seed economy.

So who is pushing GMOs in India? Mahajan says:

I personally know that the Prime Minister is not involved but there are people in the Niti Ayog and PMO who are pushing this corporate agenda in India. SJM has already at various stages challenged the decision of these “bureaucrats” who are committing fraud with India and even the PM. They are the ones responsible for demanding GMO to placate their foreign masters. I leave Mahajan with one last question: What happens if the PM agrees to GM Mustard? What will Swadeshi Jagran Manch do? To this he replies:
This will never happen. Trust me.

International Racketeers for GMOs

On the other side of the fence is veteran farmer leader Dr Krishan Bir Chaudhary, President, Bhartiya Krishak Samaj. Considered very close to the Home Minister and old guards of both the parties, Dr Chaudhary has different views on this issue because of his vast experience with what he calls “international racketeers”.

“It doesn’t matter which government there is, a group of International racketeers funded by corporate money place themselves in keys positions within them. They have links from smallest to the highest corridors of power, the PMO and Niti Ayog included in them.”
Dr Krishan Bir Chaudhary, President, Bhartiya Krishak Samaj

Chaudhary feels that these people are misleading the PM because of pressure from corporations such as Monsanto/Bayer.

It is all a game of money changing hands, because if you look at the scientific and agronomical data, all of it is against Bayer’s Mustard. The yields are much lower, it is herbicide-tolerant and not Indian, so why should one go for GM technology?

Dr Chaudhary has visited the national mustard breeding centre in Bharatpur and compared the yields and fields with his own eyes. He terms this whole debate a fraud and even today, demands white papers. He wants a CBI inquiry to find out which people and pro-GM scientists, bureaucrats and others are on the payroll of these corporations. He wants these compradors to be exposed as traitors. I had also met the late minister Anil Madhav Dave at his residence on 12 May. He told us that he had not yet seen the GEAC clearance files and the news was already out in the media. Dave went on to say that he was isolated and was experiencing a lot of stress about the GM question.

The only option for him was to resign from the ministry or sign the documents for approval, which he vehemently opposed. A true swadeshi fighter, he held his ground till the very end, and did not allow the GM Mustard to be passed on his watch. I salute this true patriot who saved India.

If Not the PMO, Then Who?
Chaudhary’s understanding is quite astute. The one question that will put this puzzle together is: Who will gain the maximum amount of money if this GM Mustard is passed? It is only the MNCs – Bayer and Monsanto. But who are the middlemen who get kickbacks? Imagine Monsanto illegally extracted Rs 7,000 crore from India; how many kickbacks must its agents and lobbyists have got? Even the standard rate of 4 percent would have netted them a few hundred crores. But the bigger question is, who is allowing this to happen?

Is the Prime Minister really being led on and fooled by the propaganda of some people? If so, how can he allow this? Why is he not listening and respecting scientific evidence against GM Mustard? Is Modi pro-GM himself?

With Dave ji gone, the authenticity of the “rumour” and the future of India hangs on Modi’s decision. We can only wait and see which side of the lotus the petals fall. Here’s hoping that Dave ji’s life will not have gone in vain.

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