India government outraged at Sikh shooting deaths of six people, but says nothing about Monsanto-linked deaths of 200,000 farmers

Thursday, August 09, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Sikh protests, India government, farmer suicides

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(NaturalNews) The shooting deaths of six members of a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., recently was a genuine tragedy, to be sure, but the Indian government seems to be engaging in selective outrage when compared to the number of Indian farmers who have died under Monsanto-linked circumstances.

First, the diplomatic outrage.

Since the shooting, U.S. government officials have been working "behind the scenes" to assuage Indian anger over the shootings. That diplomatic effort has primarily involved Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, head of the State Department, who, according to Foreign Policy magazine, has been fielding complaints from Indian government and religious officials who are now demanding more protection for Sikh temples throughout the United States.

In particular, Clinton telephoned Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna after he "criticized the U.S. for failed policies and a growing trend of violent incidents against religious minorities," the magazine said.

"I have seen messages of condolence from President Obama and others. They've emphasized protection of all faiths. The U.S. government will have to take a comprehensive look at this kind of tendency which certainly is not going to bring credit to the United States of America," Krishna was quoted as saying in a magazine story featuring a photo of Sikh faithful in India tearing up and burning cardboard U.S. flags.

To that end, following the attack several demonstrations against the U.S. broke out in a number of Indian cities; not surprisingly, many called for stricter American gun laws.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, in a letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, pushed for the Indian government to pressure the Obama administration to do more to protect Sikhs in the U.S.

"The government of India must get more actively and vigorously involved in getting the U.S. administration to address the issue in right earnest," Badal wrote.

"That this senseless act of violence should be targeted at a place of religious worship is particularly painful," Singh agreed, in a statement.

A tragedy, sure, but a larger one looms in silence

Again, this incident was a tragedy. But the Indian government should save some of its outrage for its own people.

As has previously reported, quoting a report in Britain's Independent newspaper, thanks to a takeover of India's agricultural seed markets by Monsanto.

A little history.

The World Bank forced India's seed economy to become globalized in the 1990s, and when that happened, the country's agricultural sector almost immediately began to suffer economic hard times.

"Much of the common Indian seed stock turned from saveable heirloom varieties to patented, genetically-modified (GM) varieties that expire after a single use and require the application of expensive and cumbersome pesticides in order to grow, which plunged many Indian farmers into abject poverty," we reported. "And nearly 25 years later, the devastating effects of this corporate takeover of Indian agriculture has resulted in countless suicides, 200,000 of which have occurred just in the past ten years."

It all begins, and ends, with companies like Monsanto

Multinational biotechnology giants like Monsanto and Syngenta promised farmers that GM crops would bring larger yields for less money. They didn't; many of the crops wound up failing and in doing so, left millions of Indian farmers with virtually nothing, or less.

"One farmer every 30 minutes (commits suicide) in India now, and sometimes three in one family," Indian journalist Palagummi Sainath told the Independent. With nowhere to turn and nothing left to lose, many farmers simply drank their pesticides. And since untold numbers of such suicides go unreported, the real number could be much higher.

Other factors have been blamed for years of poor agricultural production in India - bad policy, years of drought - but just about every problem appears directly connected to the introduction of GM crops in the 1990s.

"Every suicide can be linked to Monsanto," scientist Vandana Shiva told the paper.

Where's the Indian government's outrage over this lingering outrage?

"Global powers have literally robbed India of its self-reliance and self-sustenance in the name of 'ending poverty' by thrusting upon them a system of monopolized agriculture controlled and operated by companies like Monsanto," wrote Ethan A. Huff for "And unless India somehow secedes from the global system of corruption, conditions will only become increasingly worse for its people."


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