Today, in Bhopal, five gas disaster survivors’ organisations marched to the abandoned Union Carbide factory where a traditional burning of effigies took place.
Press statement of the five organisations:
Hundreds of survivors of the World’s worst industrial disaster on December 3, 1984 in Bhopal, India marched today in a rally from the city centre to the pesticide factory of the American multinational Union Carbide. The marchers held banners, chanted slogans and at the end of the rally, set fire to the logos of Union Carbide and its current owner Dow Chemical along with the US flag.
Leaders of five survivors’ organisations who jointly organised the rally, called upon the governments of USA, India and Madhya Pradesh state to stop sheltering and colluding with the corporations and ensure justice and a life of dignity for the half million survivors.
“The US Government is sheltering Dow Chemical for the last two years by refusing to serve the notices of the Bhopal District court against the US corporation in the ongoing criminal case on the disaster. It must stop violating the Mutual Legal Assistance Treay it signed with India in 1991.” said Rashida Bee, president of the Bhopal Gas peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh and winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize.
Balkrishna Namdeo, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Pensionbhogee Sangarsh Morcha said “The collusion between the Indian Government and these American corporations is the main reason for the denial of justice and rehabilitation to the survivors these past 32 years. That and the fact that half the gassed people are Muslims and 80% of the Hindus are from lower castes.”
“Our Prime Minister paid special attention to the menu for the dinner he invited Andrew Liveris, Dow Chemcial’s CEO to. But he remains oblivious to the need for revivion of figures of injury and death in the curative petition for additional compensation for the survivors pending before the Supreme Court for last six years.” Said Nawab khan of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha.
Charging the state government with deliberate negligence, Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action said, “The Madhya Pradesh government has known about contamination of groundwater in and around the pesticide factory since 1991. Yet still today it has taken no legal steps to make Dow Chemical pay for the clean up or for the health damages to the thousands of residents living near to the abandoned factory.”
“The long disastrous aftermath of the man made disaster in Bhopal is also man made. The disaster can end today if the governments of USA, India and Madhya Pradesh respect national and international laws, follow their respective constitutions and fulfil promises made.” Said Safreen Khan of Children Against Dow Carbide, an organisation of next generation of survivors.