Bhopal survivors demand apologies from US, Indian governments

Bhopal, Dec 3 : Five organizations of Bhopal gas tragedy survivors have demanded apologies from the governments of USA, India and Madhya Pradesh for the ongoing medical and environmental crisis affecting half a million people.

In a jointly released statement to the media on the 29th Anniversary of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, they called upon these governments to end the disaster in Bhopal before it enters its fourth decade next year.

The organizations led a rally of survivors of the disaster and those exposed to contaminated groundwater to the Union Carbide factory at the end of which they set an effigy of Dow Chemical on fire.

The marchers carried picture of US hacker activist Jeremy Hammond, sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, who exposed Dow Chemical's snooping on Bhopal activists.

The effigy, that of a corporate executive with horns and a forked tail, bore marks of damage caused to Dow Chemicals in India including the criminal case on bribery, the blacklisting of Dursban, the cancellation of the joint venture in Gujarat and the gutting down of its proposed R&D Centre at Chakan near Pune.

Rashida Bee, who has lost 6 members of her family to the disaster and is the president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, said: "The Presdient of United States must summon the courage to express remorse for the US Government's financing of the world's worst industrial disaster through the EXIM bank as revealed through Wikileaks documents."

"He must apologize for the blatant double standards of his government's responses to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the continuing disaster in Bhopal that involves two of USA's largest corporations." she said.

She said that a closure of the Bhopal disaster was not possible without the US government agreeing to send Warren Anderson, former Chairman of Union Carbide and chief accused in the criminal case to face trial in India.

Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha sought apologies from the Prime Minister on behalf of the Indian Government for taking away victims' legal rights to adequate compensation through the Bhopal Act and then continuing to downplay the health and environmental damages caused by Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals.

He said that the Prime Minister should personally apologize for appointing two known Dow Chemical supporters, Kamalnath and Chidambaran to the Group of Ministers on Bhopal that has failed to bring about any improvement in the situation in Bhopal.

"The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh must express regret for failing to keep the three promises he made to the delegation of survivors on December 3, 2011 exactly two years back," said Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha's President, Nawab Khan.

He said that the Chief Minister has not set up any independent inquiry in to the violence during the rail roko agitation and innocent people are facing trumped up criminal charges.

The CM has also failed to keep his promise regarding revision of figures and extent of injuries caused by the disaster and that of joining a delegation of survivors to meet the Prime Minister on the lingering ussues of Bhopal, he charged.

"The Prime Minister and the Chief Minister should also say sorry for their failure to provide proper medical care, employment, social support and environmental remediation even after 29 years of the disaster," said Safreen Khan of Children Against Dow Carbide.

--IBNS (Posted on 03-12-2013)

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