Scores of Greenpeace activists took out a demonstration here today to spread awareness about the potential dangers of allowing field trials of genetically modified brinjals.
They blamed the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), along with American multinational Monsanto Mahyco, of attempting to force-feed its genetically "unsafe" brinjals in contravention with a Supreme Court's order.
"We are here trying to tell ICAR that they are force feeding genetically unsafe brinjals to common people. We are here to ask them whether they are going to be in contravention of the Supreme Court orders which says the brinjals will not be introduced in the field here," said Jai Krishna, a Greenpeace activist.
Krishna further said that they have written letters to the ICAR pointing out that "they (ICAR) are going to be in contravention (with the apex court)," and added that the environmental watchdog has not received any reply as yet.
"It is up to the ICAR to clarify whether they are going to be for the people swearing allegiance or for the seek operation for which they are doing field trails in all their institutes," he said.
Monsanto-Mahyco is a US multinational agricultural firm whose genetically modified cotton and, now, brinjal seeds, have been given commercial approval by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee of India.
The genes coding for the insecticide crystal proteins are actually introduced into the plant, enabling it to produce the protein continuously, and so protect itself against attacks from insect pests.
However, the farming community in India, backed by the voluntary bodies wants extensive research and proof of its harmlessness to humans and the eco system in general before they allow these varieties to take root in India.
India has allowed commercial cultivation of genetically modified cotton since 2002.