`N-protests: PM remarks inappropriate`

A group of intellectuals criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for "resurrecting the old bogey of foreign hand" over protests against atomic plants.

Last Updated: Mar 05, 2012, 22:22 PM IST

New Delhi: A group of intellectuals on Monday
criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for "resurrecting the
old bogey of foreign hand" over protests against atomic plants
and Genetically Modified crops and asked why no probe was
being held into the influence peddled by US-based agencies.

In a letter to Singh, seventeen intellectuals and
activists said they found his remarks on NGOs "highly
inappropriate misrepresentation of facts" and contended that
the prominent visible foreign hand in these issues is that of
the US, which is "squarely created and abetted" by his
government.

The letter came against the backdrop of Singh pointing
fingers at foreign-funded NGOs for opposing the nuclear plant
in Kudankulam and GM crops in the country, saying they do not
appreciate India`s development needs.

"Is it that only those who support your policies are
helping the nation, while those raising legitimate and
scientifically-based dissent are all branded as traitors
working against the national interest?" they said.

The signatories, including Justice V R Krishna Iyer,
former Chief Election Commissioner JM Lyngdoh and Atomic
Energy Regulatory Board ex- Chairman A Gopalakrishnan, said
they were indeed fighting against a foreign hand operating "at
the behest of and from within your government" supported by
Indian and foreign commercial entities.

"Your charge that all those who voice dissent of your
government`s policy on GM crops and nuclear power do not
belong to the `thinking segment` of society is an indictment
of a large section of our citizenry. It betrays an
inappropriate distinction between `thinkers` and `non-
thinkers` solely on the basis of agreement or disagreement
with government policy.

PTI