Bhopal: For the first
time in their 27-year fight for justice, Bhopal gas tragedy
survivors will hold a day-long shutdown Oct 11 here, seeking
correct government figures on health damage caused in the 1984
industrial disaster, a protester said Saturday.
At a press conference here, five organisations called for a
peaceful "Bhopal bandh". These were Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila
Stationery Karmachari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush
Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi
Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information and Action and
Children Against Dow-Carbide.
The shutdown is planned to put pressure on the government to
present actual figures of health damage caused in disaster at the
Union Carbide plant on the intervening night of Dec 2-3, 1984.
The Superme Court, which is hearing a petition on compensation for
gas victims, may hear the case in October.
Rashida Bee, leader of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery
Karmachari Sangh, said that tragedy survivors were demanding that
the state and central governments present correct figures on the
health damage before the Supreme Court.
On the night of Dec 2-3, 1984, the leakage of tonnes of methyl
isocyanate (MIC) gas killed many people. Government records showed
5,295 deaths, 4,902 with permanent disability, 35,455 with
temporary disability and 527,894 with minor injuries.
"But our figures show that till 2009, 22,917 people died, 5,08,437
people became permanently disabled and 33,781 others received
severe injuries," Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for
Information and Action told IANS.
"The government's counsel sometimes say 15,000 have died so far,
while sometimes they say the figure is 5,000. The central and
state governments have presented thoroughly unscientific data on
the deaths and health damage caused by the disaster," she said.
Dhingra said that internal documents of Union Carbide Corp, US,
and the results of the medical research done by the Indian Council
of Medical Research showed that 93 percent of the survivors were
wrongly categorised as "temporarily injured" and given a
compensation of Rs.25,000.
Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi
Sangharsh Morcha said that in Jaiprakash Nagar, a neighbourhood
located opposite the Union Carbide factory, nine out of 10
residents were categorised as temporarily injured.
Safreen Khan from Children Against Dow Carbide said that the
curative petition presented by the central and state governments
in the Supreme Court had not even mentioned the health damage to
children born to gas-exposed parents.
"If the governments do not present correct information, even the
best of judges cannot do justice in a case," she said.