Patna. Nov 22: Large number of students and activists turned up to welcome a group of 40 ordinary farmers who started Kisan Swaraj Yatra “ Rally for Farmer’s Independence” from Gandhiji’s Ashram in Gujarat on Oct 2.
Traveling through the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Praddesh, Orissa, Bengal and Jharkhand, they arrived in the city last night. The rally aimed at spreading awareness on the growing inflow of genetically modified (GM)food into the country along with deadly pesticides from abroad. It may be mentioned that GM seeds have a total ban in the European Union.
After a well attended meeting at the Science Centre, Tarumitra students joined them on a rally to Gandhi Maidan and then a trip to Tarumitra Bio-reserve nine kilometres away in Digha.
Over 400 students assembled at the Bio-reserve to welcome the group. Students standing both sides of the road, clapped and cheered the rally of farmers as they arrived in the Tarumitra forest. The farmers briefed the students on their extensive negative experience of Terminator Genes and GM crops in the country. One farmer specially told that his peer-group of farmers of Gujarat plant GM cotton lavishly while it was banned in the whole country!
After a short introduction to Tarumitra, the students invited them for an “Eco-lunch” specially prepared at Tarumitra. Patna. Ms Margaret who is trained in Japan in organic farming, prepared the eco-lunch, spoke to the farmers that the lunch consisted of home grown rice-gruel blended with a wide variety of herbs from the forest. Special chutneys and salads added colour and spice to the meal.
All commended on the sense of accord and good will that permeated the atmosphere.
The local organizer from Patna, Pankaj Bhushan said that he was very touched by the interest taken up by the younger generation in agricultural troubles.
Present also were Maria Winiger and J.K Setty from Caritas Switzerland, Rajesh Kumar, Chiranjeev, D. N Prasad, Arunava Datta and Fr. Robert Athickal