Arrested Bhopal Activists Released; UPA Govt has lost moral right to power: D. Raja, Abani Roy say

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangarsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

NEW DELHI, 22 May, 2008 — In a turn of events, 22 Bhopalis, including 15 women and 6 youngsters, who were arrested yesterday for chaining themselves to the Prime Minister’s house were released today without charges by the Special Executive Magistrate at Parliament Street Police station. The magistrate requested the Bhopalis to avoid demonstrating at the PM’s house. Speaking for all the Bhopal organizations gathered at Jantar Mantar, 28-year old Meera More refused to make any such promise. “We will use every opportunity to remind the PM that we are here, and that we will not leave until all our demands are met,” the organizations said.
The Bhopalis are demanding that the Prime Minister set up a special commission for rehabilitation of Bhopal survivors, and legal action against Dow and Union Carbide.
At a solidarity meeting to mark the 90th day since the Bhopal victims left Bhopal on foot to Delhi to meet the Prime Minister, two senior politicians and Rajya Sabha MPs D. Raja (CPI) and Abani Roy (RSP) echoed each other in saying that “The UPA Government has no moral right to be in power if it is insensitive and unresponsive to the people of Bhopal.”
“You people have fought enough. It is time for us to join the struggle,” said Mr. Roy. Mr. Roy also said that representatives from all left parties should go in a delegation to pressure the Prime Minister to agree to the demands of the Bhopal victims.
Senior columnist and eminent civil liberties activist Kuldip Nayyar recalled that he had greeted the Bhopal padayatris when they arrived at Jantar Mantar 52 days back on March 28. “At that time, I thought the Prime Minister will listen. But now I realize that the PM is insensitive. It is possible that he may agree to the demand for the Commission. But I doubt that he will take action against the companies. Union Carbide is now in India with a new name, and a promise to bring in foreign investment. This Government will do anything to get foreign capital,” he said. “It is telling that the slogan “Inquilab Zindabad” that was used by Bhagat Singh against the British Raj is being used by the Bhopalis against today’s Company Raj,” he added.
More than 20 organisations, concerned individuals, and students from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University and Indraprastha University also visited the dharna sthal in solidarity. The organizations include: National Alliance of People’s Movements, the New Trade Union Initiative, Saheli, Jan Sangharsh Vahini, National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers, Delhi Forum, BPRT, Kriti, SAMA Resource Group, Focus on Global South, Forum for Democratic Initiatives, Prathidhwani, People’s Union for Democratic Rights, CACIM, The Other Media, National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights, Jagori, Rashtriya Janata Dal, People Tree, Communist Party of India and Revolutionary Socialist Party.
For more information, contact:
Rachna Dhingra. 9717516003.
Nityanand Jayaraman: 0944482401

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