September 11, 2003 --
CropChoice news -- BBC news online: Angry farmers in southern
India have stormed a building that formerly housed the global biotech
More than 40 farmers ransacked the corporation's former Bangalore
facility on Thursday, after staging noisy demonstrations.
They were protesting after more than 70 farmers committed suicide
in the region in the last three months.
Their deaths are being blamed on debt and drought - and on the
introduction of Monsanto's genetically modified crops.
According to eyewitnesses, the farmers went on the rampage in a
former Monsanto research center, located in India's top science
facility, the Indian Institute of Science.
They damaged furniture and windows, and shouted slogans demanding
Monsanto close down its operations in India.
Monsanto is active in several southern Indian states, where it
has angered environmentalists and farmers by spearheading the cultivation
of genetically modified cotton.
The police arrested 15 farmers after Thursday's incident.
They said Monsanto had shifted its research facility recently,
but the protesters were probably not aware of this.
A leader of the Karnataka State Farmers Association, Professor
MD Nanjundaswamy, told the BBC the attack was a warning to Monsanto
to leave India.
The farmer's association had also torched several farms in the
state where Monsanto's new cotton crop was being trialled.
The environmental group, Greenpeace, has joined protests against
Monsanto by calling on the company to withdraw its seeds from the
Monsanto says its critics have been misinformed, and its experiments
in genetically modified farming have been successful in the US,
China and other countries.