Scientists respond to ICAR/DARE’s gag order on public sector scientists with regard to GM mustard


We, the undersigned scientists, urge the Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India to immediately withdraw an instruction put out on 23rd December 2022, which is tantamount to a gag order, denying scientists the right to practise science in its true spirit and present evidence-based analysis. It is against the backdrop of a press release from DG-ICAR (, on 23rd December 2022, in the context of GM mustard approval public debate) that we are forced to put out this Open Statement.

DARE/ICAR is appearing to silence the voices of public sector scientists, by invoking “administrative procedures” that too in the name of ‘public interest’ and this is also being extended to retired scientists not in the service of the government at present.

Article 51(A) of Constitution of India lists down Fundamental Duties of all Citizens of India. 51(A)(h) states that “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop the scientific temper, humanism, the spirit of inquiry and reform”.

While that is laid down in the Constitution of our country, citizens trained as scientists understand the core spirit of science. Science is about asking questions and seeking answers. Science progresses on being critical of conclusions already made, and questioning certainties, clarifying niggling doubts and double-checking results.

In fact, it is the duty of a confident and progressive government to invite open and transparent public debate based on scientific facts and set a precedent of public participation in issues related to policy choices of technology. This is about democratisation of science and technology, without compromising on the scientific rigour. This press release issued by DARE/ICAR is in direct contravention to our constitutional rights and fundamental duty as scientists to work with freedom.

This instruction, on the other hand, is in effect a gag order by which scientific temper and independent inquiry is being discouraged among current serving scientists and even retired scientists. This is not expected, and certainly not from an elected democratic government in 21st century India. We therefore urge DARE/ICAR of Government of India to immediately publish a corrigendum and take back this directive.

Dr Sultan Ismail PhD, DSc,

Soil Biologist & Ecologist,

Former Head, Dept of Biotechnology,

The New College,



Endorsed by –

S.No. Name (alphabetically) Specialisation
1 A R Vasavi Social Anthropologist
2 Anupam Paul Agriculture, Organic Farming
3 APS Mann Biochemistry
4 Ashok Kaushal Computer science
5 Ashoke Ranjan Thakur Biophysics/Molecular Biology
6 Asok Kanti Sanyal Ecologist, Taxonomist
7 B.Narsimha Reddy Plant Pathology,Fungal Toxicology
8 Banumathi Nursing
9 Bhaskaran Raman Computer Science & Engineering
10 Bhavani R V Economics (Food and Nutrition Security)
11 Debasis Mazumdar Agricultural Statistics
12 Dhiraj Singh Oilseed Brassica Breeder
13 Duvuru Narasimhan Biodiversity
14 Gunathilagaraj Kandasamy Entomology
15 GV Ramanjaneyulu Agricultural Extension
16 Indira Ghosh Bioinformatics & Computational Biology
17 Indira Vijaysimha Science Education
18 Jayalakshmi P. S. Taxonomy of algae
19 Jis Sebastian Ecology
20 K. Kanchana Devi Microbiology
21 K.B. Wanjari Pulses Breeding
22 Kaleena Mitheran Environmental studies
23 Karen Haydock Science education, Biophysics
24 Kondaveeti Vijayalakshmi Microbiology
25 Lalitha Vijayan Ecology & Environment
26 M. K. Mukundan Food processing & quality assurance including food safety.
27 Medha S Rajadhyaksha Neurosciences
28 Mira Shiva Medicine
29 Mundra Adinarayana Chemistry
30 Nagarjuna G Science Education Research
31 Nagumothu Venugopalrao Teaching and research, cotton entomology
32 Om Damani System Dynamics
33 Pandurang Sitaramji Babhulkar Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry
34 Pawan K Tak Organic farming
35 Purendra Prasad Social Scientist
36 Radha Gopalan Environmental Science and Engineering
37 Rajalakshmi. G Molecular biology and Biotechnology
38 Ramakrishnappa K Seed Technogy
39 Ramesh Arora Entomologist, agricultural scientist
40 Raveendran Muthurajan Biotechnology
41 S.Santhi Ecology
42 Sagari R Ramdas Veterinary Scientist
43 Sagarika Devi Natural Product Discovery
44 Samudrala Venkata Chenchu Kameswara Rao Remote Sensing Applications in Agriculture
45 Siddhartha Sengupta Physics, AI, Industrial Engineering
46 Soma Marla Crop bioinformatics & Genomics
47 Sudhir Kumar Suthar Political Science
48 Sujatha Byravan Biological sciences
49 Suman Sahai Genetics
50 Sundaram Seshadri Botany – Microbiology
51 Suvrat Raju Physics
52 Sylvia Karpagam Public health doctor
53 T Prakasam Earthworm Ecology
54 T.S. Subha Microbiology
55 Tarak Kate Plant Scientist
56 Thara K. G Disaster Management and Geology
57 Vandana Prasad Pediatrics and Public Health
58 Veena Shatrugna MD Clinical Nutrition (Biochemistry)
59 Vidyanand Nanjundiah Evolutionary biology
60 Vinod Kumar Gaur Earth & environment
61 Vipul Ganesh Kelkar Plant Biotechnology
62 Yadu C R Agricultural Economics
63 Yuvaraj Duraisamy Textile Science
64 Zakir Hussain Research on agroecology and natural farming


Letter sent by Dr VS Vijayan to Union Minister for Environment: Dr-VS-Vijayan-to-Minister-for-Environment-and-Forest-and-Climate-Change-on-GM-mustard.pdf (

Letter sent by Dr VS Vijayan to Director General, ICAR/Secretary – DARE: Dr-VS-Vijayan-to-ICAR-on-GM-mustard-press-release-31st-Dec-2022.pdf (

Letter sent to the Union Agriculture Minister by Shri Binoy Viswam, Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament: Letter to Agricultural Min – Gag order against GM crops (

Letter by group of scientists associated with Krushi Vaidhnyanik Manch, Nagpur to Prime Minister: Scientists-writing-to-PM-Modi-on-GM-mustard.pdf (

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