Skip to main content

GM mustard: 60 scientists ask Govt of India to withdraw 'gag order' denying right to speak

Himanshu Pathak
By Our Representative 
In an open statement, more than 60 Indian scientists have protested against what they call the “gag order issued on public sector scientists”. Urging the the Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare, Government of India, to “immediately withdraw an instruction put out on December 23, 2022”, the statement says, the order is “tantamount to a gag order”, as it seeks to “denying scientists the right to practice science in its true spirit and present evidence-based analysis.”
Referring to the press release, which has been issued by Dr Himanshu Pathak, Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (DG-ICAR), on December 23, 2022, in the context of GM mustard approval public debate, the statement says, “DARE/ICAR is appearing to silence the voices of public sector scientists by invoking ‘administrative procedures’, that too in the name of 'public interest', and this is also being extended to retired scientists not in the service of the government at present.”
Stating that “Article 51(A) of Constitution of India lists down Fundamental Duties of all Citizens of India”, the statement quotes 51(A)(h), which says, "It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop the scientific temper, humanism, the spirit of inquiry and reform."
It underlines, “Citizens trained as scientists understand the core spirit of science. Science is about asking questions and seeking answers. Science progresses on being critical of conclusions already made, and questioning certainties, clarifying niggling doubts and double-checking results.”
“In fact”, it notes, “It is the duty of a confident and progressive government to invite open and transparent public debate based on scientific facts and set a precedent of public participation in issues related to policy choices of technology. This is about democratisation of science and technology, without compromising on the scientific rigour.”
Pointing out the press release issued by DARE/ICAR is in “direct contravention to our constitutional rights and fundamental duty as scientists to work with freedom”, the statement says, the DARE/ICAR view “is in effect a gag order by which scientific temper and independent inquiry is being discouraged among current serving scientists and even retired scientists.”
“This is not expected, and certainly not from an elected democratic government in 21st century India. We therefore urge DARE/ICAR of Government of India to immediately publish a corrigendum and take back this directive”, it underscores.
---
Click here for signatories

Comments

Anonymous said…
Please correct Dr Himanshu Pathak is now DG ICAR, not Dr Trilochan Mohapatra?

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Delhi HC rules in favour of retired Air Force officer 'overcharged' for Covid treatment

By Rosamma Thomas*  In a decision of May 22, 2023, the Delhi High Court ruled in favour of petitioner Group Captain Suresh Khanna who was under treatment at CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram, between April 28 and May 5, 2021, for a period of eight days, for Covid-19 pneumonia. The petitioner had to pay Rs 3,55,286 as treatment costs, but the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) only reimbursed him for Rs 1,83,748, on the basis of government-approved rates. 

'Enough evidence' in Indian tradition to support legal basis for same-sex marriage

By Iyce Malhotra, Joseph Mathai, Sandeep Chachra*  The ongoing hearing in the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage provides space for much-needed conversations on issues that have hitherto remained “invisible” or engaged with patriarchal locker room humour. We must recognize that people with diverse sexualities and complex gender identities have faced discrimination, stigma and decades of oppression. Their issues have mainly remained buried in dominant social discourse, and many view them with deep insecurities.

Religious divide 'kept alive' with low intensity communalism in Gujarat's cultural capital

By Rajiv Shah  A fact-finding report, prepared by the Mumbai-based non-profit, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), has cited the Vadodara Ram Navami violence of March 30 as yet another example of how, after the BJP consolidating its hold on political power in Gujarat post-2002 riots and at the Centre in 2014, the nature of communal riots has changed, underlining, as opposed to high-intensity violence earlier, now riots have become “more sub-radar and at a smaller scale, more localized”.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Caste, impact on Ayodhya area 'halting' BJP rulers to act against Brij Bhushan Singh

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Finally, the #WrestlersProtest has got international attention. The United World Wrestling (UWW),  condemning the treatment and detention of wrestlers and expressing its disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations against Brij Bhushan Singh, accused of sexually harassing women wrestlers, has urged the "relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation."

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

76% Odisha govt school infrastructure in dilapidated state, 'undermine' RTE norms

By Our Representative  As many as 75.86% (5,421) elementary schools in Odisha do not possess a playground, depriving students of physical activity opportunities. Also, 75.68% (5,408) of schools require minor or major repairing, undermining the norms and standards stipulated in the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

Can India's water management infrastructure address gender vulnerability issues?

By Monami Bhattacharya, Megha Gupta, Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The climatic pattern of the earth is evolving and changing for a very long time, but in the recent times spanning this century, the change has been drastic which has raised serious concerns to all. Climate criss is also clearly manifested as gender crisis where women are more vulnerable besides being more voiceless to raise the issue. India is marked as a highly climate-vulnerable nation. In addition, the gender disparity in the patriarchal society seems deeply and naturally ingrained among all.