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Bhopal Gas Tragedy victims condemn Indian Govt. for colluding with US MNCs to deny justice

Monday, November 30, 2009 10:20:08 PM, Pervez Bari ummid.com

Bhopal: Three NGOs working for the welfare of survivors of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, world's worst industrial disaster, have condemned the Indian government’s collusion with the two American multinationals as the chief obstruction to justice for the Bhopal gas victims.

       

Addressing a joint press conference here on the occasion of the upcoming 25th Anniversary of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, leaders of the three survivors’ organizations viz. Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha and Bhopal Group for Information & Action said that while the Indian government officially holds Dow Chemical (the new owners of defunct Union Carbide factory from where poisonous gas spewed in December 1984) liable for environmental crimes in Bhopal and has sought $ 22 million as advance for clean up, but it has taken no steps against the Indian subsidiaries of Dow Chemical.

       

The organizations pointed out that Dow Chemical paid $350,000 as fine to the US Securities & Exchange Commission for having paid 200, 000 $s bribes to Indian government officials yet the Indian government has not taken action against this eight year old crime.

       

Satinath Sarangi, a representative of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, the Bhopal survivors’ organizations, said that Union Ministers Kamalnath, P. Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh and other ministers in the Union Cabinet and Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia have been exposed as lackeys of Dow Chemical.

       

It may be mentioned here that NGOs working among the gas victims  suggest that it was a "conspiracy" to ease pressure on the new owner of Union Carbide M/s Dow Chemicals for cleaning up the plant and a sequel to the letter of the then Union Commerce & Industry Minister Kamalnath who wrote to the Prime Minister in 2006 asking him to "liberate" Dow Chemicals from liabilities of Bhopal, which would pave way for $ one billion investment by the company in India.

       

The NGOs expressed the hope that it will not be long before they succeed in making Dow Chemical Company clean up the poisons from Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, the then Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson is extradited from USA, the Empowered Commission on Bhopal is set up by the Central government and the lies being spread by the Madhya Pradesh Government are exposed.

       

The representatives of the three organizations recounted their victories over Dow Chemicals and Union Carbide over the years gone by in their struggle for justice for the survivors. They stated that Dow Chemical has not been able to make any significant investment in India for the last eight years after it took over Union Carbide. Last year Dow Chemical’s proposed Global R & D centre near Pune was demolished by supporters of Bhopal survivors and this year in Chennai, Delhi, England, Scotland & Italy were targeted for direct action by survivors and their supporters.

       

They said that the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology continue to bar Dow Chemical from recruiting on campus and recently the Chennai based The Hindu newspaper publicly rejected Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of a music festival. The organizations stated that pressure on Dow Chemical will be intensified this year with activists from more than 20 countries, and in more than 100 locations in 22 states of India, taking action against Dow – Union Carbide on December 3.

       

The organizations also condemned the Indian government’s negligence towards extraditing Warren Anderson against whom a fresh non-bail-able arrest warrant has been issued in July this year.

       

They lamented that the Prime Minister of India has failed to keep his 14 month old promise of setting up the Empowered Commission on Bhopal for medical care and rehabilitation of Bhopal’s poisoned people and their future generations. They said that the failure of government agencies is apparent by the facts that over 130, 000 survivors are still chronically ill from exposure related illnesses, tens of thousands of children born to exposed parents suffer from growth disorders and horrific birth defects and people continue to die untimely deaths from Union Carbide’s poisons.

pervezbari@eth.net

 

 

 

 

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