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Published On:03 January 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Bhopal Gas Tragedy survivors to stage indefinite ‘dharna’ from January 3

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: The survivors and victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the world’s worst industrial catastrophe, have given a call for indefinite “dharna” (sit-in) agitation from January 3 for their demand of changing figures of death and injuries in the soon to be heard curative petition pending in the Supreme Court of India.

Addressing a joint Press conference here on Monday five non Governmental organizations (NGOs) working for the welfare of the survivors of December 1984 December Union Carbide disaster announced that they will hold a peaceful indefinite “dharna” till the corrections in the curative petition are made which would enable the survivors and victims to get adequate compensation. The petition is likely to be heard after it is listed on January 10.

Satinath Sarangi and Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action said that the Bharatiya Janata Party ruled Madhya Pradesh Government was yet to make much needed corrections as promised by the Chief Minister in response to the “Rail Roko” (Train Blockade) agitation held on December 3. So far the only assurance the organizations have received is that the concerned officials will be meeting with the Additional Solicitor General of Madhya Pradesh on January 6 to discuss changes in figures of damage caused by the Union Carbide disaster, they informed.

“Our dharna will continue till the figures in the curative petition are actually corrected.” said Rashida Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh , who had been awarded Goldman Environmental Prize in 2004.

The organizations will also be demanding dropping of false criminal charges against the Bhopal gas victims and setting up an independent and impartial investigation as promised by the Chief Minister, they said.
“For peaceful protest action on the 27th Anniversary of the disaster, 2000 Bhopalis are facing 17 criminal charges each more severe than the other. The government is trying to criminalize the survivors’ efforts to claim their legal rights to adequate compensation,” said Balkrishna Namdeo of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha, who along with his colleagues, some older than 80 years, stands charged with murderous assault, arson, rioting and other grave charges.

The organizations plan to clean up and restore the historic "Bawadi" (step well) in Bada Bagh locality where the indefinite dharna will be held. The "dharna" will also be a place for dissemination of information on compensation and the trumped up criminal charges against gas victims.
The representatives of five NGOs viz. Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information & Action and Children Against Dow Carbide jointly addressed the Press conference.

Meanwhile, it may be mentioned here that on the eve of new year led by the five NGOs the survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal had greeted the New Year 2012 with torch lights, music and dances by children. Holding flaming torches, survivors stood in a formation of the five Olympic Rings to demonstrate their resolve to continue with their campaign to oppose sponsorship of Olympic Games by Dow Chemical.

The organizations also had vowed to continue to pressure the government to present correct figures of death and injury in the curative petition before the Supreme Court to ensure adequate compensation for all gas victims.

Holding banners saying “New Year, Renewed Spirits” the survivors resolved to intensify their ongoing agitation for proper compensation from Dow Chemicals and Union Carbide.
Children of survivors danced to the tune of a now popular song on the violation of human rights by the state government during and after the “Rail Roko” agitation on the 27th Anniversary of the disaster.

Leaders of the survivors’ organizations expressed hope that in the year 2012 they will be victorious in their long drawn battle against the Dow Chemical and the Union Carbide.
It may be recalled here that 40 tones of methyl isocyanate, (MIC – a highly volatile toxic chemical), gas spewed out from the pesticide plant – owned by Union Carbide India Limited, (UCIL), a subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), USA – in the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984. The gas leak killed 3,000 people instantly and more than 25,000 over the years and inflicting grievous injuries on countless others. Many were deformed for life and many children born with the toxic effect are sick and with congenital malformations. It also affected 100,000 people that night and estimates are that more than 500,000 continue to suffer till date.

[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on January 03, 2012. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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