Swatantra Bharat Party

Reissuing this press release by Shetkari Sangathana

Akot tehsil, Akola district, Maharashtra.
Press Release, June 25, 2019.
Statement of Lalit Patil Bahale, spokesman for the Shetkari Sanghatana, on the FIR filed against him and others in Akot today, for the Kisan Satyagraha undertaken in Akoli Jahagir village on June 10, 2019.

"It is very sad to know that state administration is trying to give criminal colour to satyagrah , a sacred and polite expression of disagreement with govt., by registering offenses under IPC sections on the farmers desperate for propagation of science and technology in the field of agriculture, in the intrest of the nation, India that is Bharat, and to ensure the well being of farming families and rural communities," Lalit Patil Bahale.

1. Rather than being accused of 420, the farmers including Lalit Bahale and the farmers are possible victims of cheating or 420. No farmer has come forward to complain that Lalit Bahale and others, either sold seeds to farmers, or misled the farmer in to sowing HTBt cotton. 

2. The Kisan Satyagraha is  a symbolic gesture to demand farmers' freedom to reap the benefits of modern science and technologies, including GM crops. It is a scientific committee of GoI which had estimated that 15% of cotton in Maharashtra, and a few other states, was HTBt. This was long before the Kisan Satyagraha launched by Shetkari Sanghatana.

3. Farmers are fully aware that in the current regulatory environment, they can never be sure that the seeds they have procured are genuine HTBt cotton, or not. 

4. Farmers in Akoli Jahagir had requested the officials to get the seeds tested to let them know if the seeds were genuine.

5. Given the uncertainty over the seeds, it is baseless to level charges of cheating or causing any harm to health or environment, without any supporting evidence.

6. The result of misguided regulations, impose price control on seeds (when seed cost constitutes barely 5% of the cost of farming GM cotton), and efforts to undermine IPR, have contributed to a total halt in trials of new generation GM crops. This has placed Indian farmers at a great disadvantage compared to their peers and competitors in other countries.

7. World over a dozen GM crops are being legally grown, including HTBt cotton without any evidence of adverse health impact or environmental degradation. And here farmers in Akola are being accused without any evidence of harm whatsoever. Globally, over 180 million hectares are reportedly under GM crops, and hundreds of millions of people across the world have been consming such produces for over two decades without experiencing any adverse impact.

8. The Shetkari Sanghatana had to take up the Kisan Satyagraha for two basic reasons. On the one hand, the regulatory environment had stalled all development of new generation of GM crops, denying farmers benefits of latest scientific progress. On the other hand, the growing demand from farmers for better alternatives meant that the farmers were increasingly vulnerable to spurious or fake seeds. It is this adding insult to injury, that forced the farmers to undertake the Satyagraha, on their own land and at their own risk to bring attention to the gross injustice being meted out to the farmers. 

The Shetkari Sanghatana is standing with the farmers in support of their demand for freedom to choose the technology of their own choice, legally and freely.

For more information, please contact Shetkari Sanghatana.
• Shri Anil Ghanwat, Ahmednagar, 99237 07646 
• Shri Ajit Narde, Kolhapur, 98224 53310 
• Shri Lalit Patil Bahale, Akot taluka, Akola, 97654 70002 
• Laxmikant kauthakar, Telhara taluka, Akola dist. 96236 03799

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