Holding multinational companies (MNCs) responsible for the "present agrarian crisis" that has forced over three lakh farmers to commit suicide in the last two decades, environmentalists and activists on Monday sought a NHRC probe into the "epidemic".
Vandana Shiva of Navdanya and Krishan Bir Chaudhary of the Bhartiya Krishak Samaj submitted a petition to the National Human Rights Commission, urging it to probe the epidemic of farmer suicides in India, and direct the government to stop violations of the human rights of farmers.
The complaint highlights various aspects of human rights violations by MNCs and how each of these actions has resulted in the present agrarian crisis. It is prepared in compliance with the standards set forth in the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, as amended in 2006, and the NHRC (Procedure) Regulations, 1994, as amended in 1997.
"We have submitted lists of farmers who committed suicide since 1995, largely due to a debt trap created by dependence on high-cost seeds and chemicals," said Shiva.
"With over 300,000 farmer suicides in India since 1995 and about 84 per cent of them in the Bt Cotton belt, there is ample proof that Bt Cotton is directly responsible for trapping farmers in debt and suicide cycle," she said.
"Bt Cotton seeds are seeds of suicide. Wherever they are grown they have only brought death and debt to the farmers. If you look at Punjab or Vidarbha the number of suicides has increased, debt has risen and the rural economy has been ruined," said Chaudhary.
The petitioners called on the NHRC to probe these issues as the violations of the human rights of farmers.
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