By Dr Vandana Shiva, 24 November 2017 | Source
Two Decades of Monsanto’s Illegal Actions, Frauds and Crimes in India
Over the two decades since Monsanto entered India, it has violated laws, deceived Indian farmers by making unscientific and fraudulent claims, extracted super profits through illegal royalty collection by violating India’s Patent and Intellectual Property laws, pushed farmers into debt, and, as a consequence of the debt trap, to suicide.
Monsanto cheated Indian farmers by claiming that its Bt cotton will control the bollworm. The claim of Bt cotton being a pest control technology has been proven false with the emergence of resistant pests and farmers are being forced to use pesticides. Farmers are now dying due to pesticide poisoning.
Another fraud was the claim that GMO Bt crops are safe for biodiversity and the environment, inspite of the scientific knowledge that GMO Bt is not the same as natural Bt. Pollinators have been killed because of high dose supertoxins in Bt crops, which have also led to poisoning of the soil and the killing of soil organisms, threatening the very foundation of agriculture and food security.
In 2017, Monsanto was caught illegally spreading Roundup Ready Bt Cotton in Vidarbha without commercial approval, adding the disaster of Roundup to the Bt cotton disaster. Roundup is a probable carcinogen according to WHO. In the US thousands of cancer victims are suing Monsanto. In Europe there is a strong movement to get Roundup banned. The Monsanto papers have revealed how Monsanto has manipulated science and laws to sell its toxic products harming humans and nature. It is now adding Roundup to the arsenal of its toxic products that has brought devastation to Indian farmers.
Monsanto’s highest crime is robbing Indian farmers of their lives by pushing them to death through a combination of factors including fraudulent claims, and debt resulting from collection of illegal royalties for seeds even though patents on seeds are not allowed in India under Art 3h and Art 3j of India’s Patent Act. Establishing a seed monopoly to make super profits through high prices of seed, and fraudulent claims of Bt Cotton being a pest control technology have pushed farmers into debt and suicides, Monsanto’s illegal and unethical behaviour is responsible for farmers suicide and pesticide deaths in the cotton areas.
When the collection of illegal royalties and “trait fees” was finally stopped by government through a Seed Price Control order in 2015, Monsanto tried to challenge it, further violating farmers rights, and thinking it is above democracy and laws. We intervened in the case to have their challenge dismissed, so the Seed Price Control order stands, and seed price can be regulated.
Monsanto has established a monopoly on cotton seeds, and through the monopoly enslaved farmers in debt and distress. Monsanto has violated the Anti Trust laws of India and the orders of the Monopoly and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission. It has tried to block the investigation by the Competition Commission of India of its 99% monopoly on the cotton seed market.
Not only has Monsanto violated Indian laws for Biosafety, for Intellectual Property and Patents, and Access to Essential Commodities, including seed, it has threatened sovereign institutions and government with legal actions to subvert and undermine laws.
Monsanto’s crime is not just violating laws, but challenging laws and institutions that try to regulate Monsanto and stop its violations. These laws and institutions are pillars of Indian democracy and have been created to implement the Indian Constitution and protect people’s rights and the environment. The Company has challenged government when it tried to control seed prices, it has tried to challenge the Competition Commission when it tried to examine the cotton seed monopoly, and it is now challenging Art 3j of the Indian Patent Act which excludes seeds, plants, and animals from patentability.
In other words, Monsanto wants absolute rights to operate illegally, demanding the freedom and right to rob farmers of their lives, through selling lies and failed technologies, and illegally collecting royalties . This is violative of Art 21 of the Indian Constitution.
On grounds listed above, Monsanto has not just violated laws, it has created conditions for farmers deaths.
When Monsanto’s Bt Cotton failed to control pests, and farmers were forced to use more pesticide, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra stated he would initiate a case of culpable homicide against the pesticide industry. Pesticides are being used in Bt cotton areas because Bt has failed as a pest control technology. So the final responsibility of the pesticide deaths lies with Monsanto which sold Bt cotton on false and fraudulent claims.
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