A tree for Sunil

Bhopal Gas Peedit Maila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information & Action
Bhopal ki Aawaaz

September 27, 2006
Today in several parts of India and in many countries people will be planting trees in memory of Sunil Kumar – a victim of the December 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal. Sunil lost his parents, three sisters and two brothers on the night of the disaster. He was only 13 years old at that time but as the eldest in the family fulfilled his responsibilities towards the upbringing of his sister and little brother.
In an interview in 1985, Sunil had said that “The people must know who was responsible for the gas disaster- who killed their loved ones. And those who are found responsible must be hanged. What is the use of all the money if those who have killed so many go scot-free?” While those responsible for the disaster have still not faced trial, Sunil, troubled by mental health problems in his later life, was the one who finally hung himself on July 26, 2006.
Despite his mental illness, Sunil was clear headed about the steps he took before the final one. He had given all his papers to a friend for safe keeping, shared his wishes regarding his last rites, requested that no one be held responsible for his suicide and before he hung himself he wore a T-shirt that said “No More Bhopal”.
Sunil spent a large part of his short life trying to ensure that the Bhopal disaster does not recur anywhere. There were hardly any demonstration of Bhopal victims in Bhopal or elsewhere in which he did not take part.
In 1985 he laid the foundation stone for the “Peoples Health Centre” a clinic set up by organizations of the survivors of the disaster. In 1986 along with other witnesses and government officials Sunil went to USA to present an account of the damage caused by Union Carbide to his family and neighbourhood before Judge Keenan. In 1987 Sunil formed “Children Against Carbide” to involve children against the American Multinational.
In 1989 Sunil went on a campaign tour to USA, England, Ireland and Holland to mobilize world opinion against the settlement between Union Carbide and the Indian government. During this tour Sunil was arrested and sent to jail for distributing a pamphlet at the annual general meeting of Union Carbide. Later under pressure from his supporters the company was forced to withdraw the charges. In 1990 Sunil became a member of Bhopal Group for Information and Action and remained involved with research, publication and campaign activities till his end.
In 1997 Sunil became mentally ill and he suffered from constant fear that some one was going to kill him. In 1998 he started taking treatment at Sambhavna Trust Clinic and NIMHANS, Bangalore. Later Sunil became a volunteer and worked regularly in the clinic’s herbal garden, library and registration.
In 2000 Sunil became active in “Bhopal ki Aawaaz” an organization of persons orphaned by the disaster and in 2003 he participated in the dharna and fast by this organization. In 2005 Sunil inaugurated the people’s museum on the Gas disaster – Yaad-E-Haadsaa.
For friends’ tributes to Sunil, please see:
Oh little brother
Goodbye, dear Sunil
For the Bhopal Medical Appeal and Sambhavna Clinic bid to start a new mental health clinic in Sunil’s memory please see:
Life and death of a mad Bhopali child
Today members of several organizations of gas victims : Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, Bhopal ki Aawaaz and Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan and Sambhavna Trust Clinic planted trees in memory of Sunil in different parts of the city. Similar programs are being organised by supporters in Africa, USA, UK, France and other countries.
Rashida Bee, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
94256 88215
Syed M Irfan,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
93290 26319
Shahid Noor
Bhopal ki Aawaaz
98261 82226
Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
98261 67369
Contact :
House No. 12, Gali No. 2, Near Naseer Masjid, Bag Umrao Dulha, Bhopal 462 010
For the latest information on the Bhopal disaster please visit www.bhopal.net

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