Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kovai: Rally Protest

16th march 2009: A deligation of 11 farmer’s leaders and Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangam met the Registrar of TNAU and submitted a memorandum advised the university to destroy the ongoing GM Corn field trail for Monsanto. Police force of 150 personnel was deputed to manage the situation in TNAU. Farmers’ leaders were shocked to see the kind of reception in the University, yes, the main gate of the University was locked by the Police and security personals to prevent entry of the farmer’s leaders. The previous day the police requested to the Safe Food Alliance to submit the memorandum to the district collector as there is no Vice chancellor to TNAU and the Registrar was also not in station. But the Mr.Ram mohan, a representative of safe food alliance told the Police that the Police has no role to advise us to decide to whom the representation to be submitted. The Police said that only 5 representatives could meet the Registrar as there is insufficient space in his office room, but the all the leaders wanted to meet the Registrar. Finally the Registrar of the TNAU came out to his office premises and received the memorandum. Senior farmer’s leader Mr.K.Balakrishnan submitted the memorandum and said the demand of the alliance. But, the registrar was in a hurry to get back to his seat and kept on saying that he would read the memorandum and get back to us.

Rally in the afternoon.
A rally of farmers, traders, women and general public under the banner Safe Food Alliance started in Gandhi Puram near Thiruvalluvar Bus stand. Mr. Vellaian , president of Tamil Nadu vanigar Sangam presided the inaugural of the rally and Mr. Su. Si. Kalaiarasan of Viduthalaigal siruthaigal inaugurated the the rally.
More than 500 women and men wearing ribbon on their fore head saying “No to GMOs” and were marching in the procession shouting slogans against the GMOs, Monsanto, Tamil Nadu Agriculture university and state and central governments. They were also demanded complete ban on GMOs as they are cause cancer, infertility and allergy etc. There were hundreds of placards against GMOs, Monsanto and TNAU were carried and displayed by the participants.
  • Women from women collective were wearing vegetables as ornaments and shouted against GMOs.
  • Mr. Markandan, former Vice chancellor of Gandhi Gram Rural University presided the demonstration in front of the Red Cross Society in Coimbatore at the end of the 5km long procession. He strongly condemned the Government of India and government of Tamil Nadu for having mindlessly allowing GMOs in our country.
  • Mr.Vellaiyan Leader of Tamil Nadu appealed to political parties take resolve to make the state GM Free and announce the same before Lok Sabha election and should implement if they are elected to power or should continue to fight against GMOs if they happened to be in opposition. He declared on behalf of Vanigar sangam that his organisation is even prepared to take violent means to destroy the field trails if it absolutely necessary to prevent the entry of GMOs in Tamil Nadu and to ensure the health and safety of people. He further said that the members of vanigar sangam and their family will cast their votes only to the parties who come out clearly against GMOs.
  • Ms. Saral, secretary of the Women’s collective of the Nilgiris district came out very strongly against the anti farmer and anti people research initiatives of the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU) for the benefit of Trans National Agri Business giant Monsanto by conducting the open field trials in the university campus.
  • Mr. Valukku Parai balu veteran farmers leader said that farmers totally rejected the GMOs as it will take away the farmers control over the seeds and a serious threat to fertility of the land and human and animal health.
  • Mr.Ce.Ma.Velusamy, M.L.A and former minister of Tamil Nadu government and Mr.Pollachi. Jeyaraman, Ex.Minister were also extended their solidarity on behalf their party.
  • Ms. Grace from the Nesakarangal, a part of the Tamil Nadu Womens Forum, N.S. Palanisamy, C.Nallusamy, Mr. Balusamy, Er. Ramasamy, Mr.Thulasimani, Mr.S.Kannaiyan, Mr.Ram Mohan, Vetavalam Manikandan and Mr.R.Selvam were expressed their commitment and extended their solidarity for the ban and banishment of GMOs.

Demands for the Tamil Nadu Government by the safe food alliance:

  • Burn and destroy the GM corn field trial presently being conducted in the campus of the university,
  • GM crops and their field trials should be banned immediately. All State agricultural universities (SAU) must disengage any partnership research on GM crops with any private companies.
  • No GM foods should be allowed through imports or through other means. Strict action should be taken on illegal imports.


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