Oct 31, 2014
Warren Anderson, responsible for the world’s biggest industrial disaster at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India that claimed over 25,000 lives and counting, has died at 92. Anderson had a quote engraved on his desk that said, ”Leader is best when people barely know he exists.” He lived by that rule.
He hid himself so much from the public eye, that even his death was announced one month later. He died on September 29th, and his death was announced on Oct 30th by New York Times. In 1984, Anderson was arrested only to be released within 24 hours by the Indian government. He fled India in a government-arranged plane and has lived as a fugitive and an absconder of justice ever since. 25,000 people died in Bhopal and over half million of the injured continue to suffer to date. There is clear evidence that Anderson had compromised the safety of people for profit. There is clear evidence that he approved of faulty designs and inadequate safety apparatus. He was fully aware of the hazards the factory posed to the lives and health of the residents. His Indian plant used inferior technology and produced pesticide that was banned in the West. He hid information as a trade-secret. Yet the Indian government had failed to pressure the US to extradite Anderson to stand trial in India. What does it say about India that claims to be county of law yet unable to try a corporate criminal? What does it say about the current Indian prime minister inviting corporations to “make-in-India” but Bhopal isn’t even an issue in the bilateral trade with the US. I fail to understand why the Indian and the US governments have failed to try this corporate criminal against justice and democracy’s higher principles.
Victims and survivors of the Bhopal disaster have not been rendered justice while Anderson absconded justice till his death. His death is not a death of a corporate leader but a historical event of aborted justice. If Anderson had surrendered himself to be tried, there would have been a closer and important lesson learnt. That did not happen.
That he died without being sent to trial sends a wrong message to other multinationals leaders who choose profit over human safety in Third World Countries. And that is why, I will do something that is not my character — I will not mourn his death or say “rest in peace”.
I will join those who are still fighting for justice for Bhopal.
Teesri Duniya Theatre