Tag Archives: history

Sign the Petition to Extradite former Chairman of Union Carbide Corporation, Warren Anderson for his crimes in Bhopal

July 15 2013

Dear Sisters and Brothers of USA,

We, the survivors of the world’s worst industrial disaster in Bhopal ask your help in extraditing Warren Anderson, former Chairman of Union Carbide Corporation who has  jumped bail and refuses to face criminal charges related to  thousands of deaths.

SIGN THIS PETITION  http://wh.gov/l3cJi

You need to have an address in US.

If the petition gets 100,000 American signatures by 13th July 2013 then the White House will respond.

 Extradite Warren Anderson, fugitive and bail-jumper, to India to face charges related to thousands of deaths

Former Union Carbide Chairman / CEO Warren Anderson skipped bail in India and fled to the US more than 28 years ago. In 1992 and again in 2009 the Indian courts  issued warrants for Anderson’s arrest for manslaughter. The 1984 Bhopal disaster has killed as many as 25,000 people and 120,000 continue to battle chronic illnesses. Cancer and Tuberculosis are rampant and next generation is also marked by Carbide poisons. There is abundant evidence that shows that the disaster in Bhopal was foreseeable and preventable and that it occurred because of deliberate criminal negligence by Anderson and his colleagues. Anderson lives comfortably in his three homes in the Hamptons, Florida and Connecticut. The president of USA and the US Departments of State and Justice need to stop harboring one of the world’s most wanted criminals. Extradite Anderson before he dies of old age.

ANDERSON CRIMES IN BHOPAL

Union Carbide Factory, Bhopal, India

 

Anderson was part of the 11 member managerial committee that approved untested technology in the Bhopal plant to cut cost by 25%.

 

 

 

 

TIMELINE

On 7th December 1984, Warren Anderson along with Indian officials was arrested in Bhopal and released on bail. He promised to return back in his  Bail Bond.

 

On 1 December 1987, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed charge sheet against Warren Anderson, chairman of UCC, and eleven other accused individuals and corporations. Warren Anderson is charged under Indian Penal Code sections 304 [culpable homicide, punishable by 10 years to life imprisonment and fine], 320 [causing grievous hurt punishable by 10 years to life imprisonment and fine], 324 [causing hurt, punishable by 3 years imprisonment and/or fine] and 429 [causing death and poisoning of animals, punishable by 3 years imprisonment and/or fine]

Anderson has not shown up in Bhopal Court despite several summons through Interpol.

 

On 10th  April 1992 CJM, Bhopal issues Non-Bailable Warrant of arrest against Warren Anderson and orders the Government of India to seek extradition of Anderson from the United States.

 

May 2003:  Ministry of External Affairs sends request for extradition of Warren Anderson to Department of State and Department of Justice, USA.

 

On 24th  July 2003, the Department of State, United States rejects the application for Warren Anderson’s extradition. Copy of  rejection of Anderson’s extradition obtained under Freedom of Information Act.

 

In 2004, 2005 and 2008 Government of India took up the matter again with the US Government to reconsider its decision on the basis of additional inputs. However all the requests were turned down.

 

On 28th April 2011 Indian Government through Ministry of External Affairs sent another request for extradition of Warren Anderson.

 

This request is still pending with the US Department of Justice and till today (March 2013)  no decision has been taken by them regarding extradition of Warren Anderson. Updated presented by Indian Govt to the CJM, Bhopal.

 

Warren Anderson is currently 92 years old.

 SIGN THE PETITION

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Police fire on, stone and beat Bhopal survivors

One critical, many arrested in Rail Roko, eyewitnesses speak of people covered in blood on 27th anniversary of gas disaster

Keep visiting this site for the latest news as we get it. This post is still being written as you are reading it. Please refresh your browser

The “rail roko/stop the trains” protest in Bhopal began peacefully as planned at dawn this morning. Survivors with their families and friends gathered in groups and went to places on the railway line to lie down and begin a peaceful protest.

Police in riot gear with shields and “lathis”, long heavy clubs, turned out in force and began to attack the survivors, sparing neither the old, women and children.

Phone reports speak of people hit by stones and lathis covered in blood. One person is said to be critical in hospital. Many have been arrested. Bodies are lying on the ground in scenes reminiscient of the gas disaster of which today is the 27th anniversary.

Rail Roko facts and figures here

The “rail roko” was a desperate last attempt to get the Indian government to publish the true figures of deaths and injuries attributable to the 1984 gas disaster. It is well recognised the numbers of victims were vastly underrated.

The $470 million 1989 settlement between Union Carbide and the Indian government was based on those figures, consequently the compensation available to victims was pitifully inadequate.

That settlement was not, as Union Carbide’s alter ego Dow Chemical (they merged into one operation in 2001) claims “full and final”. It was reopened by the Supreme Court in 1991 when criminal charges were reinstated against Union Carbide.

The present government has gone back to the Supreme Court with a “curative petition” to seek additional compensation from the company on the basis of what we now, 27 years later, know to be the scale of the human toll.

While welcoming the curative petition, the survivors are frustrated because the government is still not publishing the true figures. For example the curative petition counts 5295 deaths, but the government’s own figures, obtained from the Indian Council of Medical Research and other government bodies, put the true death toll at 22,917.


 

CLICK CHART FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE FIGURES

 


That figure continues to grow. Just last week our friend Raghubir lost his battle against the injuries sustained on “that night”, 27 years ago.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Gas Victims given substandard drugs from last 27 years

Corruption Kills: Bhopal Gas Victims Demand Strong Jan Lokpal Bill

Press Statement 8-August-2011

At a press conference today, five organizations working with survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster announced their action plans as part of the “India Against Corruption” campaign.  They will be holding a demonstration at the Union Carbide factory tomorrow at noon to condemn the anti corruption bill proposed by the central government. Survivors from Bhopal will be joining the actions led by Anna Hazare and solidarity actions in Bhopal from August 16.

 

Survivors of the Bhopal disaster said that a strong Jan Lokpal Bill is required to deal with corruption at all levels in the central and state governments and the judiciary. They said that corruption has been, and continues to be a significant reason in the denial of proper medical care, rehabilitation and fair compensation.

 

Rashida Bee, president of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh said   “For the last 27 years we, Bhopalis, have been victims of corruption by Prime Ministers, Chief Ministers, Ministers in the state and central governments, Judges in the Supreme Courts and Claim tribunals, bureaucrats of all ranks and other employees, government scientists and doctors, and its time to start putting an end to it in right earnest.”

Balkrishna Namdeo, president of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha said that in the last 27 years, crores of rupees from the public exchequer have been misappropriated every year in the medical care and rehabilitation of the Bhopal gas victims. He pointed out that a former Minister of Gas relief in the state government who had had to resign in the face of corruption charges earlier, has now been rehabilitated in the state cabinet with three portfolios.

 

Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action said that in the government system of medical care, corruption in the purchase of medicines for gas victims is most illustrative of the failure of the existing systems to deal with corruption.

 

She said in December 2006 survivors organizations had carried out a citizens’ raid on two drug stores of the gas relief department. Based on the information collected during the raid, in January 2007  a submission was made to the Supreme Court pointing out that more than half of the medicines meant for gas victims were purchased from companies known to produce sub-standard medicines.

 

 

In March 2007, six survivors and supporters went on a 19 day fast and dharna, demanding supply of quality medicines and other improvements in medical care and rehabilitation.  While the survivors on fast are still facing charges for attempted suicide, nothing has been done to improve the quality of the medicines.

 

In September 2007 the organizations complained about the quality of drugs in gas relief hospitals to the Monitoring Committee set up by the Supreme Court. On 27 May 2008, the Monitoring Committee submitted its 7th report pointing out that none of its recommendations, including those about improving quality of medicines,  had been followed by the state government. In its 7th report, the Monitoring Committee asked the Supreme Court to bestow certain powers so that it could ensure that the state government followed its recommendations.

 

In January 2011 the Supreme Court asked the Monitoring Committee to list out the powers that it would like to have to effect improvement in the medical care of the Bhopal victims.

 

 

According to the survivors’ organizations, in March 2011the Monitoring Committee did draw up a list of powers that it would like to have, but due to the machinations of the corrupt bureaucrats and others in the state government, the list remains to be presented before the Supreme Court. Survivors’ organizations charged the Ministry of Bhopal Gas Tragedy with sabotaging the work of the Monitoring Committee so that it could continue with its corrupt ways.

 

Survivors’ organizations said that their recent investigation in to quality of drug supply shows that several Indore based manufactures known to be suppliers of substandard medicines such as Quest Laboratories, Deepin Pharmaceuticals and Zenith Drugs have continued to sell their drugs regularly to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Department from 2007 till today.  (Details of companies) They said that this was in clear violation of the Monitoring Committee’s recommendations in its 3rd, 4th and 6th reports to the Supreme Court.

 

 

 

Rashida Bi,Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh

94256 88215

Nawab Khan,Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha

9302792493

Balkrishna Namdeo,Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha

9826345423

Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,Bhopal Group for Information and Action

9826167369

Safreen KhanChildren Against Dow Carbide

9303831487

Please visit www.bhopal.net for recent information on the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

India’s most Secret Incinerator is here

18-July-2011

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main50.asp?filename=Ws180711India.asp#

The Madhya Pradesh high court has ordered that the DRDE dispose off toxic waste from union carbide’s bhopal plant. Why the secrecy?

INDIA MAY have sent rockets into space. But as a nation, we are not yet potty trained. With more than six decades of industrialisation behind us, one would think that India would have a policy to deal with the remediation and restoration of pollution hotspots. But no. Our continued bungling of the Union Carbide contamination in Bhopal is a sorry case in point. In the lead up to the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas leak, the Madhya Pradesh government wanted to convey to people that the issue of contamination had been resolved, and that time was such a great healer that even without doing anything, the highly contaminated Bhopal factory site had magically cleaned itself up. How did the government do that? By getting scientists to say that the site is safe and that whatever was toxic is no longer toxic.

One prominent scientist recruited for this job was R Vijayaraghavan, Director of the Defence Research Development Establishment (DRDE), a supposedly high-tech laboratory of the Ministry of Defence. For an R&D agency with such pretences, the director’s statement on the Bhopal toxic waste was frighteningly simplistic. “For a 70kg man, there will not be any death even if he takes 200gm (of toxic wastes stored inside Carbide’s premises) by oral route,” he wrote in an official opinion given to Madhya Pradesh. His conclusion was worse. The government’s plans to open the factory site for public visits, he wrote, would not cause ‘any untoward, adverse or toxic effect to the public’.

Going by his suggestion, recruiting 17.5 lakh men weighing above 70 kg to consume about 200 grams of Carbide wastes each should take care of the 350 tons of toxic wastes without troubling anybody.

Bhopal activists countered this scientific skullduggery in their own comical, cynical way. Exactly a week before the 25th anniversary, they served up a banquet with a difference. On the menu was an assortment of ‘toxic delicacies’ – Semi-processed Pesticide on Watercress; Naphthol Tar Fondue; Sevin Tar Souffle; Reactor Residue Quiche; and Lime Sludge Mousse. All served with a complimentary bottle of B’eau Pal water. “Your appetite will contribute to a cleaner Bhopal,” invitees were told. Vijayaraghavan was named as the chef of the faux banquet.

Bhopalis are totally unimpressed by Vijayaraghavan’s brand of ‘science’. But the Madhya Pradesh High Court has unquestioningly reposed its faith in the Defence Laboratory. The court is hearing a case filed in 2004 seeking directions to make Dow Chemical clean up and compensate the affected people. A number of Bhopal organisations have impleaded in the matter. Time and again, they have underlined that any remediation effort must be informed by science, that the science must be subject to public scrutiny, and that the polluter must pay. On July 12, the court ordered that about 350 tons of toxic and obsolete pesticides currently stored in Union Carbide’s factory should be disposed of at the Defence Research Development Organisation’s (DRDO) facility located in the vicinity of Nagpur.

The said DRDO facility is truly off the radar. Jairam Ramesh is credited with having identified this hidden facility. If national security hinges on keeping the plant’s location secret, then our security is soon to be breached. The plant’s location will not remain secret for long as nosy journalists and apprehensive residents from Nagpur would make a beeline for it. Already, there are murmurs that DRDO’s mysterious operation is in Buti Bori, an industrial area 35 km from Nagpur.This is the third attempt to burn the wastes. The first two were abandoned after residents living near those facilities highlighted the inadequacy of the incinerators in handling Carbide’s wastes. The incinerator in Ankleshwar, Gujarat, caught fire because it had stored several hundred tons of toxic wastes in violation of its own hazardous waste authorisation. The explosion happened in April 2008 when Bhopalis were sitting on dharna in Jantar Mantar demanding, among other things, that the Bhopal wastes should be disposed of without subjecting other communities to another slow- motion Bhopal.

This is the third attempt to burn the wastes. The first two were abandoned after residents living near those facilities highlighted the inadequacy of the incinerators in handling Carbide’s wastes. The incinerator in Ankleshwar, Gujarat, caught fire because it had stored several hundred tons of toxic wastes in violation of its own hazardous waste authorisation. The explosion happened in April 2008 when Bhopalis were sitting on dharna in Jantar Mantar demanding, among other things, that the Bhopal wastes should be disposed of without subjecting other communities to another slow- motion Bhopal.

The second facility was in Pithampur, near Indore. This facility was constructed cheek-by-jowl with a residential area, in violation of setback guidelines. Incidentally, locating the Union Carbide facility in a densely populated part of town was an important contributor to the Bhopal disaster’s massive death and injury toll. The Pithampur facility too had an explosion nearly killing a worker just days before Jairam Ramesh was to visit it.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court’s order is problematic, even illegal, on many counts. Time and again, bureaucrats, politicians and now the court have used the fact that these wastes have lain here so long as a justification for getting rid of it quickly, by any means and for bypassing due process. The very least that needs to happen if the Bhopal wastes are destined to a facility is to verify if that facility has the wherewithal to receive the wastes. Other questions have to be answered too. Is the facility licensed? Does the facility have a good track record? Incineration is not just about burning; does the facility have a suitable mechanism to dispose the highly toxic ash and residue generated by burning the wastes? Are the people living near the facility comfortable with the facility’s operations? Was the facility designed to receive and dispose the kinds of wastes currently stored in Bhopal? Are workers and people in the vicinity informed enough to react suitably in the event of an emergency?

These are not irrelevant questions. Had they been raised before Bhopal, the world’s worst industrial disaster may never have happened. But we are a nation addicted to political and social expediency. Forget what is right, whatever can be pushed through must. The court has directed DRDE director to instruct DRDO to make arrangements to receive, store and dispose the toxic wastes as and when it is brought from Bhopal starting right away. The state government is directed to start packing and transporting the wastes within 10 days.

I made some phone calls, nothing that state pollution control boards or the environment ministry could not have done. It turns out that the DRDO facility is truly secret. People don’t even know where it is. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board agrees that there is a facility somewhere near Nagpur,and that it does secret things. One person told me an incinerator was commissioned at the facility about 18 months ago to destroy some super-toxic military stuff, something to do with the Brahmos missile project. The regional officer of Maharashtra Pollution Control Board was categorical: “If you’re releasing pollutants to air or water, you have to get our consent. Defence establishments have no exemption as far as I know. The ammunition factory in Nagpur has our license.”

THE DRDO facility has never been inspected by the regulatory body. Till date, nobody has approached the Pollution Control Board seeking its approval. The facility does not have a license to operate. It does not have a hazardous waste authorisation. It has not submitted the mandatory emergency response plan to the district administration. The DRDO has said that its responsibility begins only after it receives the wastes from Madhya Pradesh. But as things stand, if the operator of the DRDO facility were to comply with the Madhya Pradesh High Court order, he or she could land up in jail for up to two years for violating environmental laws and handling hazardous wastes without authorisation. Licensing formalities aside, experts are skeptical whether the incinerator would actually be able to deal with the Bhopal wastes.

The secret DRDO facility is truly off the radar. But its location will not remain secret for long as nosy journalists and apprehensive residents from Nagpur make a beeline for it. There are murmurs already that it is in Buti Bori, 35 km from Nagpur

Thermax is the largest incinerator manufacturer in the country. It has supplied incinerators to the DRDO. Its CEO Unnikrishnan was categorical when asked if Indian incinerators can handle the Bhopal wastes. In a May 2010 letter that has been submitted to the high court, Unnikrishnan said: “To the best of our knowledge, there aren’t any incinerators currently in operation within our country that has the level of sophistication and safety systems in-built to tackle the waste under consideration.” A consultant advising GTZ, the German bilateral technical extension agency, concurs. This is particularly significant because the Germans are known to have perfected the art of destruction by burning.

The Bhopal wastes contain high levels of chlorinated chemicals and heavy metals. Burning chlorinated material in the presence of heavy metals is the best recipe for generating dioxins, a category of carcinogenic, immune system-busting chemicals that are the most toxic substances known to science. The opaque manner in which authorities have attempted to deal with the Bhopal wastes does not bode well for the evolution of a robust policy to deal with contaminated sites. Survivors’ groups say they were taken by surprise by the order as they were never consulted or heard on the matter. An October 2003 order of the Supreme Court is unequivocal in its emphasis on community participation in any matter relating to hazardous wastes. Clearly, the decision to send the Bhopal wastes to a secret DRDO facility in a clandestine manner is not informed by this apex court decision.

It is not just the Bhopal groups that were in the dark. Eminent scientist and Padma Bhushan awardee PM Bhargava is part of a technical committee appointed by the court to advice on disposal plans for the Bhopal wastes. He too had no idea about the current proposal until I spoke with him. “It is pertinent to know what the design specifications of the DRDO incinerator are, and whether it is designed to handle such wastes,” he says.

Bhopal survivors may have been denied an opportunity to comment on the proposal. But, the court records in its order its invitation to Dow Chemical to suggest a cheaper option. The consideration shown to Dow’s financial well-being is curious given that the American company has consistently refused to submit to the writ of Indian courts.

All this makes one wonder whether the rule of law and science-based decision-making are mere rhetoric. India is a country strewn with toxic hotspots. In Kodaikanal, a toxic mercury hotspot caused by Unilever’s thermometer factory has clocked 10 years without clean-up. In Mettur, farmers have registered complaints of groundwater and soil contamination by Chemplast’s chemical factories since the late 1960s. In Roro, Jharkhand, an abandoned hill of asbestos wastes, which has poisoned the air for decades, continues to spew lung-crippling fibres of death. Entire stretches of industrial areas, in Vapi, Ankleshwar, Vellore, Patancheru, Sukhinda valley are industrial disaster zones begging for remediation. In all these cases, agencies of the state are yet to decide whether the environment is contaminated, whether the contamination is caused by the company and whether the company is liable to repair the damages and compensate farmers.

One would imagine that the government and the courts would use the perverse opportunity provided by the Bhopal disaster to better advantage – to develop mechanisms to ensure that factories don’t pollute, and to implement a rigid polluter pays regime to enforce clean-up to world standards in a transparent manner, and to deter polluters.

But left to the agencies of the state, no such policy will emerge. After every disaster like Bhopal, or every time that we discover pollution as with Unilever’s mercury pollution in Kodaikanal, citizens will have to wage a battle against the combined might of the polluter and regulator over decades to get a place cleaned up. Forget rehabilitation of the Bhopal site. Perhaps, it is time we focused on cleaning up the state.

Nityanand Jayaraman is a Volunteer Campaign for Justice, Bhopal.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

In 1984 the US rescued Union Carbide’s Warren Anderson – and now dares vilify BP’s Tony Hayward

BY JOHN ELLIOTT. I was there in Bhopal on December 7,1984, when Warren Anderson, then the chairman of Union Carbide, was whisked away from the stricken city to Delhi and back to the US – and we all knew that it was happening with the help of Rajiv Gandhi, then India’s prime minister.

Since then Anderson has been protected by the US business-political establishment from being extradited to India to answer for the appalling human and environmental damage wrought by his company’s gas leak in Bhopal a few days earlier. That was one of the world’s worst industrial disasters, leading to the death of over 5,000 people and continuing ill-health of over 500,000. (See my last visit and report six months ago).

Now that same American establishment that has protected Anderson has been pillorying Tony Hayward, BP’s chief executive, following BP’s oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. The tirade has been led by President Barack Obama, who has been behaving like a spoiled child for the past 50 or so days, casting around for someone to blame when it is his own officials who are primarily at fault.

The wrecked Bhopal plant, Nov 2009

These two man-made catastrophes have generated mega outbursts of irrational media coverage in India and the US in the past week, both fuelled by political cant.

In Delhi, politicians and media have been in a frenzy over the Bhopal gas leak following a court judgement last Monday that eight Indian former Union Carbide executives should serve two-year prison sentences and be fined about $2,000 (subject to appeals that could take years).

In neither case are the main political players really focussing on the primary issues – the appalling damage and threat to the environment in the Gulf, and health problems in Bhopal where thousands of people have suffered for over 25 years.

In both cases it is the US that is making sure its interest are protected. On Bhopal, Anderson was airlifted out of India when he could have been detained, and has been protected ever since by the American business-political establishment. On the Gulf spill, it is America that has decided that BP and Hayward, not its own officials and companies, should be the target for abuse and penalties.

“Whose ass to kick?”

Obama is frightened politically about the damage the spill will do to him and the Democrats. Consequently, he has been stoking anti-BP sentiment instead of steadying it, when the real culprits are officials in various US government organisations that for years have allowed oil companies to negotiate exceptions on environmental and safety procedures. The New York Times explained this on June 6. It started by talking about the managerial muddle on the BP rig, with unclear lines of authority and control, but it then went on to report how US officials had allowed the catastrophic situation to develop. :

“Deepwater rigs operate under an ad hoc system of exceptions. The deeper the water, the further the exceptions stretch, not just from federal guidelines but also often from company policy. So, for example, when BP officials first set their sights on extracting the oily riches under what is known as Mississippi Canyon Block 252 in the Gulf of Mexico, they asked for and received permission from federal regulators to exempt the drilling project from federal law that requires a rigorous type of environmental review, internal documents and federal records indicate.”

So when Obama said last week that he wanted to know “whose ass to kick”, the answer should have been American officials in the regulatory authorities. Sure, BP is massively responsible for what has happened, but for Obama to have personally attacked its chief executive, Tony Hayward, is mean and pathetic – and the president has ended up demeaning himself.

On Bhopal, the court sentences passed on the eight men are of course ridiculously small – and 25 years late. But the Indian media, egged on by politicians, has gone off chasing who it was who allowed Anderson to escape instead of focusing on Indian and Bhopal authorities that allowed a potentially unsafe chemical plant to be built so near the city, then allowed slum housing to mushroom nearby, and then failed to carry out regulatory checks.

Of the eight, the only well-known figure is Keshub Mahindra, chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra, one of the most respected and “clean” Indian groups. He was non-executive chairman of Union Carbide India at a time when such posts had no real corporate responsibility and were mainly involved in helping the company operate in the country. The other seven (including one who has died) were victims of an American management that had effectively walked away from the investment and wanted to dump it.

On the escape of Anderson, I was there in Bhopal at the time – December 7, 1984 – and later learned about what happened from both government and company sources.

Arjun Singh, then the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal is the state capital) heard that Anderson was flying into Bhopal from Bombay on a flight that stopped in Indore. So he ordered his police to the airport without (fearing leaks) telling them why, till the plane had taken off from Indore, when he told them Anderson should be arrested on arrival.

Anderson had planned his visit as some sort of mercy and goodwill mission. As the plane landed in Bhopal, he looked out of the cabin window and saw the police cars, so said to Mahindra, who was sitting beside him, how good it was of the state government to provide him with an escort.

He was immediately arrested and taken to the Union Carbide guest house on a hill overlooking the city. Along with a crowd of Indian and foreign journalists, I stood that afternoon at the guest house’s front gates waiting for Anderson to emerge. Shame on us all, he was whisked out of the back gate without most of us seeing him, and was released on bail after being held for just six hours. He was put on a government plane to Delhi, and then flew to the US.

Although we did not know that afternoon whether Anderson was being flown to Delhi to be detained there, we had no doubt that Singh, a leading Congress politician, was acting on the orders of – or at least with the approval of Rajiv Gandhi, the Congress prime minister. The government is now saying that Singh sent Anderson out of Bhopal because he feared civil unrest if the executive was seen in the city. But that does not explain why, presumably at the behest of the US, Anderson was then allowed to leave the country.

But whether Singh or Gandhi were wrong to have done that is not now relevent. The real crime has been committed by the Indian and American authorities, and by Union Carbide and Dow which has now taken over the company, by not punishing the right people and cleaning up the health hazards in Bhopal.

Now there’s a cause where President Obama could usefully “kick ass”.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail