Disaster Survivors Hold Press Conference on Eve of Anniversary

On the 1st December,  in Bhopal, the five organisations of Bhopal Disaster survivors held a press conference.

 

Press Statement

On the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster, leaders of five organisations of the survivors today condemned the central and state governments for deliberate neglect of the victims of the disaster and collusion with the US corporations responsible for the disaster. The organisations charged the central government of violations of the survivors’ constitutional rights to proper health care. They denounced Madhya Pradesh government’s role in the ‘Run Bhopal Run’ event with music and dance on the day of the Anniversary.

“While all of old Bhopal will be mourning the death of their loved ones, the state government is supporting a spectacle with DJ’s music and Jumba dance in new Bhopal. This shows the abysmal depths of inhumanity in the powers that be.” Said Rashida Bee, Goldman Environmental Awardee and president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh. She appealed to the participants of ‘run Bhopal Run’ to withdraw their registration in solidarity with the Bhopal victims

Balkrishna Namdeo, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha said “The state government has reneged on its promise of ensuring a minimum Rs.5 lakh compensation for the victims and providing lifelong pension to the widows of the disaster. 94% of the victims have got only Rs 25,000 compensation for lifelong injuries and thousands of widows remain without pension support for more than a year.”

Speaking on the central government’s role in the criminal case on the disaster, Nawab Khan, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha said, “The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that is directly under the Prime Minister has failed to make Dow Chemical, owner of the absconding Union Carbide, appear in the Bhopal court in the last three years. Instead of making Dow Chemical obey Indian courts, our Prime Minister has served special Indian dishes to its CEO during one of his visits to the US.”

Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action said that five organisations will be jointly organising a torchlight procession on December 2 and a march to the abandoned Union Carbide factory on December 3. “the world will be watching us on December 3 and we will tell them how we have been betrayed by our own elected governments who kowtow before US capital.” He said.

“It is easy to see why the present governments are outdoing the previous regime in complicity with criminal corporations. The party in power faced much flak for having received donations from Dow Chemical. Now they have made it possible for corporations to donate anonymously to the political party without any upper limit. It’s all about money.” Said Sarita Malviya of the Children Against Dow Carbide.

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We believe Dow & DuPont must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.