Just arrived from Khelan Bhatt, who also sends news of the Chicago trade fair action on International Women’s Day (see today’s Press Releases) pictures from a 20th anniversary visit to the house of a Dow director, who is hiding behind his Christmas-wreathed door but will open it to find a jhadoo lying on the doormat. The jhadoo, a broom typical of those used in Bhopal and all over India, was adopted as a symbol by women survivors in Bhopal. Under the slogan “Jhadoo Maaro Dow Ko” (literally, “Strike Dow with a broom!”) they vowed that Dow would be made to accept Union Carbide’s Bhopal liabilities and clean up the contamination, or be swept out of India. The jhadoo thus became a symbol both of cleansing and justice.
Protesters arrive at Ringler’s gate
Sanji Bopari announces their presence with the help of a dholak
Kamayani delivers a statement to the press
Joe DiGangi reads the survivors’ demands
Presents left on Mr Ringler’s doorstep, a Bhopali jhadoo and
a copy of "Trespass Against Us"
Here’s one of yesterday’s letters explaining the symbolism of our protests and listing our demands.
Dow Corning Corporation March 8th, 2005
Corporate Center, PO Box 994
MIDLAND MI 48686-0994
United States TEL:+1 989 496 4400 FAX:+1 989 496 6731
Dear Sir/ Madam,
We are here today, March 8, 2005, to deliver three things to you:
· A jhadoo, or Indian broom, as the symbol of our demand that Dow clean up its pollution in Bhopal;
· A court summons, issued by the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Bhopal, asking Dow to appear and explain why it continues to shelter its subsidiary Union Carbide, a proclaimed absconder, from obeying the summons of the court and facing criminal charges of “culpable homicide”;
· A copy of the book “Trespass Against Us: Dow Chemical & The Toxic Century”
As you know, Dow, as the new owner of Union Carbide, inherited criminal and environmental liability for the liability for the disaster and the chemical contamination that Union Carbide left behind. Union Carbide’s Bhopal disaster exposed half a million people to deadly gases, leaving 120,000 permanently injured and, to date, 20,000 dead. In the 20 years since Dec 3, 1984, the fateful day of the disaster, the survivors of the disaster have been forced to cope with a legacy of health, environmental and emotional devastation that is almost beyond reckoning.
Today also being the “International Women’s Day”, we would also like to bring to your notice what the Bhopal Gas Tragedy has meant for the women victims. Today, the women poisoned by Carbide suffer from an array of menstrual and gynecological problems, often give birth to children with birth defects and stunted growth, and feed their children with breast milk laced with Carbide’s chemical contamination. Carbide’s poison has disproportionately harmed the women of Bhopal, their health, their children, their social status and their ability to marry.
How can a company claim a subsidiary’s assets and not its liabilities? How can a company claim leadership without accepting responsibility? You have an opportunity now to show moral leadership in this hour of need. We urge you to raise this matter in the highest echelons of the company.
You can expect to be surprised by supporters of the Bhopal campaign until you take action on this matter. You can expect protests, direct actions, and exposure of the truth in the media. You can expect this movement to grow until you fulfill all the demands of the survivors of your disaster. These are:
· Face trial: Ensure that prime accused Warren Anderson, former chairman of Union Carbide ceases absconding from criminal justice in India and the authorized representatives of the company [Dow-Union Carbide] face trial in the Bhopal criminal court.
· Clean up the poison: Remove the contamination of the ground water and soil in and around the abandoned Union Carbide factory in Bhopal. Provide for supply of safe drinking water to the community.
· Provide long term health care: Assume responsibility for the continuing and long term health consequences among the exposed persons and potentially their future generations. This includes medical care, health monitoring and necessary research studies. The company must provide all information on the leaked gases and their medical consequences.
· Provide economic and social support: The corporation must provide income opportunities to victims who can not pursue their usual trade as a result of exposure induced illnesses and income support to families rendered destitute due to death or incapacitation of the breadwinner of the family.
Eighteen members of the United States Congress, including Rep. Jan Schakowsky, agree with our appeal to you sir. In a letter to DOW Chemical Corporation, the Congressional members called your subsidiary, Union Carbide, an “absconder from justice” and described Dow Chemical’s refusal to deal with the tragedy as a “blatant disregard for the law.” The Congressional members concluded in their letter to Dow that, “The disaster in Bhopal continues, and is likely to worsen if DOW Chemical does not step forward to fulfill its responsibilities.” We expect that you will not allow this travesty to continue any further.
We sincerely hope that you will take action on this issue and not allow this travesty to continue any further. We would be happy to meet with you at a mutually convenient time; please do not hesitate to contact us at the numbers or emails below.
Media contact: Khelan will be taking care of
this. Anyone interested in helping with him, please
contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org,
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to
call me at anytime (262-896-1549)