Hyderabad, January 31:Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh was on Sunday gheraoed here by people opposing to the introduction of Bt Brinjal in the country.
The protesters from Left-affiliated farmers’ outfits and Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) raised slogans like “Bt Go Back” and mobbed the minister on the dais at an event organised at the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) here.
The event was organised as part of efforts by Ramesh to hold a series of public meetings across the country over the commercial cultivation of controversial Bt brinjal which was cleared by the country’s bio-technology regulator last year.
Repeated appeals by the Minister to observe calm fell on deaf ears. Those supporting Bt Brinjal also raised slogans in support of their demand, resulting in chaos. Insisting that he will not cancel the meeting, the Minister told the gathering that he will listen to all and urged them help organise the meeting smoothly.
As some protesters left the hall, Ramesh regretted the incident as no such scenes were witnessed at five public hearings held earlier.
Asserting that he will not come under the influence of any company or NGO, the minister said he wanted to hold an impartial public consultation over the matter.
The final decision on the matter would be taken after holding fair public hearings on the issue, he said. The meeting later began with calm prevailing in the hall.