SnowBall archive


GE - protest begins in India

The  "Salt Satyagraha" were the salt marches started on 05 March 1930 by
to protest the colonisation of an Indian resource, salt.  Today, across India,
people will be calling for a year long protest against the new colonisation of
India:  seed patents.   as you can see from the release, already 1500 groups
have joined the call. 

5 Mar 99


New Delhi,  05 March 1999--On 5th March, 1999, the anniversary of "Salt
Satyagraha", more than 1,500
groups nationwide joined to launch the "Bija Satyagraha". 

In North India,  the "Bija Satyagraha" was launched at village Patala in
Gaziabad District with a gathering of 500 people from all walks of life.
Dr.Vandana Shiva launched the Bija Satyagraha with the inaugural show of a
street play on "Seeds of Freedom".

The National Call for Bija Satyagraha was made at the sculpture of Gandhiji
eleven murtis at Sardar Patel Road and Wellington Crescent Road at 12:45 hrs.
Some of the organisations that have joined Bija
Satyagraha  gathered  to mark a collective commitment to defend our
biodiversity and our food security. The broad coalition involved the Bija
Satyagraha was represented by Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Bharatiya Kisan Union,
Samajvadi Abhiyan, National Federation of Indian Women, Forces, Sabla
Sangh, Azadi Bachao Andolan, Delhi Pradesh Samajwadi Janata Party Women's
Wing, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch,  Students of I.I.T. and JNU.

Carrying placards  saying, "No Bollgard No Terminator", "No Patents on Life",
"Right to Food", "TPDS Samapth Karo - Sasthe Anaj ke Vyavastha
Karo", "Naya Patent Kanun ki kilaf asahayog andolan", "Affordable and Safe
is a Universal Right", "India will be Monsanto Free Zone", the
satyagrahis sang songs of new freedom from powerful and irresponsible
multinational corporations seeking to colonise Indian food and agriculture and
Indian biodiversity.

Activists from Sabla Sangh raised slogans "Keth Hamara Beej Tumara Ye
Kaisa Anyay Hai, Kaunsi Fasal Ham Boenge, Ye Hamara Adhikar Hai".  "Beej
Hamara Patent Tumara Nahi Chalega, Nahi Chalega".

Speaking on the occasion,  Ms. Amarjit Kaur, General Secretary, NFIW
highlighted the importance of indigenous seeds and our food system and
cultural diversity.  She emphasized that new patent laws are denying our
community and social rights on our seeds, our medicinal plants and our
traditional knowledge and heritage.  

Shri Rabi Ray, former Lok Sabha Speaker and patron, Lok Shakti Abhiyan
gave a call to all the responsible Parliamentarians to oppose the Patent
(Amendment)  Ordinance, 1999 which is pending in the Parliament. He said
it is unconstitutional and unethical. 

Shri Rishipal Ambawat of Bharatiya Kisan Union expressed the farmers
determination to fight the new patent laws and never accept patenting and
other monopolies on seed.

Ms. Beth Burrows, Director of Edmonds Institute, a leading U.S. activist
against patents on life and genetic engineering who also participated in
the Bija Satyagraha launch, stated that there should be no patents on
life and they are opposing the same in their country.

Dr. Vandana Shiva who joined the Bija Satyagraha launch just in time
having been delayed due to a car breakdown on her way from Patala village
said, "The Bija Satyagraha is an expression of the collective will of the
people of India to defend their biodiversity, their knowledge and their
food security.  They will let nothing come in the way of these fundamental
rights.  Just as Gandhiji had made  salt at Dandi to announce non-cooperation
with the unjust British Salt Laws, the Bija Satyagraha is
an announcement of people's non-cooperation with the unjust patent laws that
make seed saving by farmers a crime and selling of sterile and
hazardous genetically engineered seeds as rights of corporations. Through one
year of Bija Satyagraha, grassroots actions will make  large areas of
Indian agriculture MNC free, chemical free and patent free. This new freedom
movement will not be stopped."
For further details, please contact:
A-60, Hauz Khas, New Delhi - 110 016

Tel: 6968077 and 6853772   Fax: 6856795