The Candid Eye

September 19, 2009

Greenpeace uncovers illegal GM food in India

New Delhi, India — Greenpeace today confirmed the presence of illegal Genetically Modified [GM] food in India at a press conference. Tests conducted at an independent laboratory on products picked up randomly from a supermarket in New Delhi has revealed that Pepsico’s Doritos Corn Chips contain genetically modified Mon 863 and NK 603 variety corn ingredients. [1]

Both Mon 863 and NK 603 are Monsanto’s genetically modified corn varieties. Mon 863 has a bacterial gene to give pest tolerance, while NK 603 has a bacterial gene for herbicide tolerance. An Independent analysis last year, done by the Committee for Independent Research and Information On Genetic Engineering [Crii-Gen] lead by Prof Gilles Eric Seralini, a member of the French National Committee For Risk Assessment of GMOs had concluded that both Mon 863 and NK 603 pose serious health impacts [2]. The debate that ensued led many countries in Europe including France and Romania to stop the cultivation of GM corn. None of these varieties have been approved in India for human consumption.

“Though India has a law prohibiting the sale of any genetically modified food products with out the permission of Genetic Engineering Approval Committee [3], the presence of these products in the supermarket shelves proves that the regulatory system is in shambles. India seems to have become a dumping ground for genetically modified products that have been rejected due to their risk to health elsewhere,” said Rajesh Krishnan, Campaigner, Sustainable Agriculture, Greenpeace India.

Greenpeace had received RTI responses from the Director General of Health services, Director General of Foreign Trade and the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, the three agencies involved in regulation of import of Genetically Modified food in the country, declaring that no permission has been granted for the import and sale of any Genetically modified Food in India other than purified Soya oil [3].

“This is a serious violation of people’s right to safe food as consumers are being kept ignorant of the presence of potentially dangerous GM ingredients in the food products. There is growing scientific evidence on the health hazards of GM foods across the world and it cannot be ignored any more. The mandate of keeping hazardous food out of the country should be the duty of the Health Ministry and it should take immediate steps to stop the illegal entry of these foods,” said Dr Mira Shiva, of the Initiative for Health, Equity and Society.

Greenpeace is demanding that the Health ministry take notice of this serious violation and threat to human health and constitute the Food Safety and Standards Authority at the earliest.
In the meanwhile,
1. Effect an immediate confiscation of these products from the market, keeping in mind their potential health risk.

2. All imported food products should be embargoed and tested for any GM contamination and GM products found should be rejected.

Notes to Editor

[1] Greenpeace had picked up 3 random products containing corn from Le Marche, a super market in Vasant Vihar in January this year. The products were sent to an independent laboratory for DNA analysis for confirmation of the presence of GM ingredients. The PCR analysis had confirmed the presence of the GM ingredients in the corn chips.
The test results are available with Greenpeace and can be shared on request.

[2] The study on Mon 863 was published in the American journal, Archives of Environmental contamination and toxicology dated May 2007, and is available on line http://www.springerlink.com/content/02648wu132m07804/?p=d84fa910926d4c7492a585a386b28812π=18

[3] Under the Rules for the Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Micro Organisms Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells (1989), Rule 7 (1) states “No person shall import, export, transport, manufacture, process, use or sell any hazardous micro organisms, genetically engineered organisms/substances or cells except with the approval of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee.” Rule 11 states: “Foodstuff, ingredients in food stuffs and additives including processing and containing or consisting of genetically engineered organisms or cells, shall not be produced, sold, imported or used except with the approval of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee.”

[4] The RTI responses have been annexured.

Vision, video, photos, report information

Jayashree Nandi- Greenpeace India Communications, +91-9343868011, jnandi@in.greenpeace.org Rajesh Krishnan, Campaigner, Sustainable Agriculture, +91-9845650032, rkrishna@in.greenpeace.org

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September 17, 2009

Muslim Universities to get more government aid

Muslim universities have been chosen by our Indian goverment to receive more funding.

Feeding Muslim separatism

Prafull Goradia

The Budget allocates Rs 25 crore for Muslim universities in Murshidabad and Mallapuram on the lines of AMU. This will only strengthen the Muslim sense of separateness

It is surprising that the Union Budget has been passed by Parliament without the slightest protest by the Opposition. Rs 25 crore has been provided for setting up Muslim universities in Murshidabad at one end of India and Mallapuram at the other, on lines similar to the Aligarh Muslim University.

The AMU, many years later after it was found, proved to be the ideological cradle of separatism in India. Sir Aga Khan, in his memoirs, has given full credit to the AMU for inspiring the creation of Pakistan. In his own words: “Often in a civilised history a university has supplied the springboard for a nation’s intellectual and spiritual renaissance. In our own time, it has been said that American missionary college in Constantinople led to the re-emergence of Bulgaria as an independent sovereign nation. Who can assess the effect on Arab nationalism of the existence of the American university of Beirut. Aligarh is no exception to this rule. But we may claim with pride that Aligarh was the product of our own efforts and of no outside benevolence; and surely it may also be claimed that the independent, sovereign nation of Pakistan was born in the Muslim University of Aligarh” (The Memoirs of Aga Khan, Cassell and Company, London, 1954).

Shortly before the partition, Qaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah on a visit to the AMU had complimented its teachers and students for the same cause. The Muslim League was founded far away in Dacca in 1906 and its general secretaries for the first 20 years were alumni of the AMU.

It stands to reason that the two proposed spawns of the AMU could play a similar separatist role. It is relevant to recall that Viceroy Lord Minto, while helping to draft the Morley Minto Reforms of 1909, had rejected the Muslim demand for setting up their own university at Aligarh for fear that it could encourage a fissiparous movement.

Recall what Mr Shaheed Suhrawardy, who eventually went on to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan, wrote as an Indian Muslim on September 10, 1947 from Calcutta to Choudhry Khaliquzzaman said: “Personally I think that Pakistan has provided a homeland for the Muslims living in those majority areas, but not a homeland for the Muslims of India. The Muslims in the Indian Union have been left high and dry and must shape their own destiny and the question arises what should be our future organisation.” He had added: “The Muslims should form themselves into strong pockets. In my opinion this should be done even with the best cooperation in the world with the Hindus. It is politically desirable as well as necessary for survival and also culturally desirable.”

Remember, in 1947, Murshidabad district with 57 per cent Muslim population got included in India on grounds of geographical contiguity. In exchange, the Hindu majority district called Khulna went to East Pakistan. Attempts to squeeze out Hindus from the area continue even now. One recent symptom of this process is the riot in Murshidabad which claimed several lives. The issue was that the Friday namaz was needed in the local Government school; whereas celebration of Saraswati puja was not permissible. This is despite the fact that the students at the school belong to both the communities.

What the Budget proposes could lead to a throw back on the brainchild of Chodhury Rahmat Ali, the Cambridge scholar, who in July 1933 proposed the creation of Pakistan in the north-west and Bang-I-Islam comprising Bengal and Assam. In his dispensation, the Nizam’s Hyderabad was to become Usmanistan. Rahmat Ali had also expressed surprise as to why Muslim provinces should be forced into the Indian Federation under the 1935 Government of India Act when simultaneously Burma was being separated from the sub-continent.

Syed Abdul Rashid of Usmania University had, in several pamphlets published in 1938, gone further than Rahmat Ali. In addition to these three separate States, he wanted a fourth one called Moghulistan extending from the border of Patiala to Lucknow with its capital at Delhi. Most of these facts were reported in The Constitutional Problem in India by R Coupland (Chapter XVIII, OUP, London, 1944). He ended this chapter with the words, “Most Muslims would rather split India into several sovereign states than submit to a Hindu raj.”

With the birth of Pakistan, India lost about 30 per cent of its territory. Today there is an open claim that 121 districts of the country have Muslim concentrations. Last year 523 branches of public sector banks were opened in these districts. This year there is a programme to establish yet another 524 branches. The Reserve Bank of India has reserved 13 per cent of all loans for the minority, in this context, an euphemism for Muslims. It is proudly claimed that nearly Rs 83,000 crore of all loans and grants have found their way into the pockets of Muslims. These are conceded by the banks as “Credit Risk Group” which would imply that not all the loans are expected to be repaid.

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Madrasa = CBSE?

August 19, 2009

Film Piracy, Organized Crime and Terrorism

Think before you buy next time that 40-60 Rs pirated CD/DVD from Streets- you might be funding terrorists who could bomb your city risking your/your friends/your relatives lives.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. The RAND corp. has conducted a research on the Film Piracy, Organized Crime and Terrorism. The complete report is available here.MG742 The research was conducted and the findings validated independently under the joint auspices of the Center for Global Risk and Security, part of the RAND Corporation’s National Security Research Division, and the Safety and Justice
Program in RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment. The study was made possible by a grant from the Motion Picture Association (MPA).

Though some readers question the validity of study because of its funding from a movie industry, it is evident that the connection exists, and if one goes through complete report, one can see the extensive research undergone. In their study,
some 2,000 pages of primary documents were analyzed, and interviews were conducted with more than 120 law enforcement and intelligence agents from more than 20 countries.

Low cost legal dvd selling companies have already highlighted the connection between piracy and terrorism in their advertisements. While the connection may or may not exist to the extent depicted, it is clearly a copyright violation, and has to be shunned down by intellectual property law reinforcement menthods. Particularly, when it is happening in such a large scale, in public places. A simple calculation:- in front of A2B restaurant, Indirangar,Bangalore, 6 vendors were noticed selling pirated DVDs. Each vendor had approximately 900 DVDs. Assuming average selling price of 50, each vendor’s turnover will be 45,000 Rs, over a duration of may be maximum of 3 months. For a youngster who is not employed, this is an easy money. One of them mentioned that manufacturing company is in Mangalore. When a citizen can get this much information easily, why our police is not taking a stern action against such frauds? Continuing the calculation, 45000×6 = 2,70,000 Rs are generated by just one location. There are definitely atleast 50 such locations in the city, and turnover goes above 1 Crore. In recent times, the rise in such vendors has gone up, and their source of supply of the DVDs needs to be tracked down.

August 18, 2009

Jeopardizing our social security?

Government’s first and foremost job is to give social security to its people. How secure do you feel in your city? Be it daytime/evening or night:- incidences of theft, robbery, murder and planned explosions have shown that the Government has miserably failed in strict security of the society. 

So, when they cannot offer security, they start bringing down the social practices – no late night discos, no late night eat-outs, and now no late night movie shows even. And what is definition of late night? 11 pm? If the trend continues, people would stop going out of homes at times after 8pm- since the shops are anyways closed, so also food joints and social activity centers, where they would want to go out for?

This rule of last movie show by 8:30 pm is just an example of how weak the social security system is. In other words it says “we cannot guarantee you safe travel post 11pm to your homes.” Isn’t that ridiculous in the free country like India? Are our lives at stake in our own country? Where is the law and order establishment of the Government working then?

They started with curtailing the timing s of social activity, and started frisking each and every citizen that enters malls and theaters for any socially harmful carriers. It all stems from the terrorists attacks that occurred simultaneously in several parts of the city. Not once, but again and again. What do terrorists want to convey? That you are not safe, and your lives are at our mercy, and hence you succumb to our demands. 

By not nipping these activities at the bud, the Government is doing a great sin towards the citizens of this country. A stern and clear closure of all boundaries of the Nation is an urgency. Strict action on all local agencies supporting foreign terrorist intentions is a must. A bright and confident portrait of the Country’s outlook to the neighboring Countries is necessary, so that they do not even think of harming the citizens of this country.

August 17, 2009

China shuts down terror cells in its muslim region

Islam was welcomed in China few decades after its inception, and prospered in terms of trade, administrative occupation, residential population in several dynasties that governed China[1]. During the Qing Dynasty(1644-1911), the relations between China and Islam became difficult. The Qing Dynasty prohibited slaughtering of animals among other things. This resulted in revolts and rebellions which were brought down by brute force of the military. [2]

In 2003, China issued a list of terrorist organizations, which clarified that Terrorism in China is primarily committed by Muslim separatist militants in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and other locations with large Muslim population [3]. The separatist movement is called as East Turkestan independence movement[4].

China has taken a stern and strict attitude on internal terrorism.  Organizations the government has banned are the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement, the East Turkestan Liberation Organization, the World Uygur Youth Congress, and the Eastern Turkistan Information [5].  The Governments of China and Kazakhstan held an anti-terror drill, known as the “Tian-Shan-1-2006” drill, from 24-26 August 2006, starting in Almaty, Kazakhstan and ending in Xinjiang, China through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. This drill was the first anti-terrorism maneuvers held by China and Kazakhstan with a dual view of curbing ethnic Uighur separatism and ensuring oil pipeline security [6].

More recently, China shut down 7 terror cells in Muslim region. China arrested almost 1,300 people for terrorism, religious extremism or other state security charges in the region last year, says AFP [7].

While China is so actively curbing any terrorism(even the baggage of Ethnic Uighurs have been searched in the main square in Kashgar in China’s mainly Muslim Xinjiang region[7]), India is still  discussing the case of Afzal Guru. While China is using all military power to shut down the terror suspected activities, India is lull about its several internal terrorist organizations. In China there have been few cases of bus bomb, and other such explosions. In India, there have been 10 bomb explosions(or more) in different cities, some cities experiencing multiple simultaneous explosions in the last few years. What has Indian Government done to curb terrorist activities?

References:-

[1] History of Islam in China.

[2] Islam during Qing Dynasty.

[3]China identifies Eastern Turkistan terrorist organizations, terrorists

[4] East Turkestan independence movement

[5] Terrorism in China

[6] Kazakstan Joins China on Counter-Terror Exercise

[7] China shuts down 7 ‘terror cells’ in Muslim region

August 14, 2009

Chinese incursions in India

Source: TOI

Chinese incursions into Indian territory rose sharply in 2008
Indrani Bagchi

Chinese incursions into Indian territory peaked in 2008, with 270 “violations” being recorded in the western, middle and eastern
sectors. In 2009, they appear to have let up a little on the aggression front, with a little over 60 violations occurring thus far. Chinese violations made headlines last year, signalling a belligerence that made India jittery.

View Map on Google

With the first batch of advanced Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets getting ready to be deployed in Tezpur and Chabua, Assam, India is slowly responding to the uncertainties of Chinese intentions, by enhancing its state of preparedness in the area. According to the former air force chief, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, India will deploy a full squadron of these fighter jets in the eastern sector.

Recent figures point to a sharp spike in border violations and aggressive patrolling by Chinese all along the undemarcated border with India since 2007. Aggressive patrolling by Chinese forces, particularly in the western sector, have resulted in 2,285 instances in 2008, as compared to 778 instances in 2007. Indian authorities have recorded 413 instances in 2009 so far.

The brunt of aggressive patrolling by the Chinese has been felt in Demchok, Koyul and Chushul areas in Ladakh. The western sector, i.e. Ladakh, has borne the maximum number of violations, though it’s been the Chinese activity in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim areas that have attracted greater attention. India has, in response, set up forward landing bases in Daulat Beg Oldi and Chushul in Ladakh.

Earlier this year, questioned on the repeated incursions, foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon had told journalists at a function in New Delhi that he did not think these were intended to change the status quo between India and China. “I do not see the kind of changes in the pattern that would suggest that either side is determined to change the status quo or something fundamental has changed for the worse.”

But it is China’s apparently declared interest in southern Tibet and Tawang in the eastern sector that is of greater concern to India, particularly since they continue to press their claim over all of Arunachl Pradesh. In 2008, just the area in Kongra La Pass (what’s popularly known as Finger Point) in north Sikkim recorded six violations.

In Arunachal Pradesh, the Asaphila area and Dichu/Madan Bridge were worst hit, recording violations even this year. But officials describe the area as by and large “stable”. Questioned about repeated incursions by China, officials say it’s a “regular” occurrence and generally downplay it. But security officials say Chinese troops became adventurous even during the recent election season in India, indulging in “aggressive patrolling” in sections of Arunachal Pradesh.

It is in response to these that India has now taken significant steps to beef up security here. Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, General JJ Singh, said on Saturday that two more army divisions will be deployed along the Sino-Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh within a few years.

“It is true that within a few years, two army divisions comprising 25,000 to 30,000 personnel each will be deployed along the Arunachal border as part of planned augmentation of our capabilities to defend the country,” the former army chief was quoted as saying.

“Increase of force strength is to meet future national security challenges,” he added. “Enhancement of quality of weapons, fighting platforms, intelligence gathering along with increased deployment of personnel and Sukhoi combat jets in nearby Tezpur base in Assam besides construction of border roads and other infrastructure are part of the plan to develop capabilities in a phased manner within the next few years to effectively meet challenges in the eastern theatre,” the governor said.

August 13, 2009

China should break up India: Chinese strategist

from Rediff:

Almost coinciding with the 13th round of Sino-Indian border talks (New Delhi, August 7-8, 2009), an article (in the Chinese language) has appeared in China captioned ‘If China takes a little action, the so-called Great Indian Federation can be broken up’ (Zhong Guo Zhan Lue Gang, http://www.iiss.org, Chinese, August 8, 2009).
Interestingly, it has been reproduced in several other strategic and military Web sites of the country and by all means, targets the domestic audience. The authoritative host site is located in Beijing  and is the new edition of one, which so far represented the China International Institute for Strategic Studies (www.chinaiiss.org).
Claiming that Beijing’s ‘China-Centric’ Asian strategy, provides for splitting India, the writer of the article, Zhan Lue (strategy), has found that New Delhi’s corresponding ‘India-Centric’ policy in Asia, is in reality a ‘Hindustan centric’ one. Stating that on the other hand ‘local centres’ exist in several of the country’s provinces (excepting for the UP and certain northern regions), Zhan Lue has felt that in the face of such local characteristics, the ‘so-called’ Indian nation cannot be considered as one having existed in history.
According to the article, if India today relies on any thing for unity, it is the Hindu religion. The partition of the country was based on religion. Stating that today nation states are the main current in the world, it has said that India could only be termed now as a ‘Hindu religious state’. Adding that Hinduism is a decadent religion as it allows caste exploitation and is unhelpful to the country’s modernisation, it described the Indian government as one in a dilemma with regard to eradication of the caste system as it realises that the process to do away with castes may shake the foundation of the consciousness of the Indian nation.
The writer has argued that in view of the above, China in its own interest and the progress of Asia, should join forces with different nationalities like the Assamese, Tamils, and Kashmiris and support the latter in establishing independent nation-States of their own, out of India. In particular, the ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom) in Assam, a territory neighboring China, can be helped by China so that Assam realises its national independence.

The article has also felt that for Bangladesh, the biggest threat is from India, which wants to develop a great Indian Federation extending from Afghanistan to Myanmar. India is also targeting China with support to Vietnam’s efforts to occupy Nansha (Spratly) group of islands in South China Sea.
Hence the need for China’s consolidation of its alliance with Bangladesh, a country with which the US and Japan are also improving their relations to counter China.
It has pointed out that China can give political support to Bangladesh enabling the latter to encourage ethnic Bengalis in India to get rid of Indian control and unite with Bangladesh as one Bengali nation; if the same is not possible, creation of at least another free Bengali nation state as a friendly neighbour of Bangladesh, would be desirable, for the purpose of weakening India’s expansion and threat aimed at forming a ‘unified South Asia’.
The punch line in the article has been that to split India, China can bring into its fold countries like Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan, support ULFA in attaining its goal for Assam’s independence, back aspirations of Indian nationalities like the Tamils and Nagas, encourage Bangladesh to give a push to the independence of West Bengal and lastly recover the 90,000 sq km territory in southern Tibet.
Wishing for India’s break-up into 20 to 30 nation-States like in Europe, the article has concluded by saying that if the consciousness of nationalities in India could be aroused, social reforms in South Asia can be achieved, the caste system can be eradicated and the region can march along the road of prosperity.
The Chinese article in question will certainly outrage readers in India. Its suggestion that China can follow a strategy to dismember India, a country always with a tradition of unity in diversity, is atrocious, to say the least. The write-up could not have been published without the permission of the Chinese authorities, but it is sure that Beijing will wash its hands out of this if the matter is taken up with it by New Delhi.

It has generally been seen that China is speaking in two voices — its diplomatic interlocutors have always shown understanding during their dealings with their Indian counterparts, but its selected media is pouring venom on India in their reporting. Which one to believe is a question confronting the public opinion and even policy makers in India.
In any case, an approach of panic towards such outbursts will be a mistake, but also ignoring them will prove to be costly for India.
D S Rajan, is Director, Chennai Centre for China Studies.

D S Rajan
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