Bhopal survivors march with torches

Bhopal, Dec 2 : Members of five organizations of survivors of the Union Carbide gas leak in Bhopal marched in a rally with torches on the eve of the 29th Anniversary of the disaster.

The rally ended at the statue of the Bhopal Mother opposite the abandoned factory, where members paid homage to those killed by the disaster. Later the members collectively took oath of continuing with the battle for justice and a life of dignity.

Rashida Bee of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh said that the Bhopal survivors' resolve to continue battling Union Carbide and Dow Chemical continue to inspire victims of corporate crime all over the world. She said that her organization has recently won a 23 year long legal battle for parity at work.

Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha said that the struggle of the Bhopal survivors and their supporters has yielded significant results in the last several years.

The people of Chakan near Pune have not allowed Dow Chemical to set up its R & D Centre. Dow Chemical's subsidiary Dow Agrosciences is currently facing criminal charges for bribery and Dow Chemical's German subsidiary has had to withdraw from its joint venture with Gujarat Alkalis and Chlorides Limited at Dahej, Gujarat.

The Madhya Pradesh government has been made a respondent in a fresh suit filed in the US Federal Court by a group of 17 Bhopali plaintiffs according to Nawab Khan of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha. He expressed hope that the new government in the state would appear before the US Court and present the factual situation with regard to contamination of local soil and groundwater.

The leaders of the organizations condemned the governments at the centre and the state for their lackadaisical attitude towards providing adequate compensation to the survivors.

"It is indeed a matter of great frustration that the curative petition for enhancement of compensation filed in December 2010 remains to be heard by the Supreme Court" said Safreen Khan a founder member of the Children against Dow Carbide.

"What is worse is that the governments have not cared to correct the figures of injury and death in the petition." she added.

Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action said that provision of medical care and rehabilitation to the people exposed to contaminated ground water, developing treatment protocols for treatment of survivors of the gas disaster with chronic illnesses and scientific assessment of the depth and spread of contamination were the three most important tasks that the government must carry out without delay.

--IBNS (Posted on 02-12-2013)

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