Bhopal gas tragedy survivors decry government apathy

Bhopal, Dec 2 (ANI): Bhopal gas tragedy survivors continue to lament the Government’s denial of justice to them, 22 years after the incident.
“Around 34,000 people have died due to the after effects and about two lakh people are constantly suffering.
Another one lakh are temporarily or permanently disabled. So if Union Carbide is directly responsible for the deaths taking place within one month of the incident, then our government is also responsible for the deaths that took place due to the after effects,” sadi Abdul Jabbar, a convener of the Committee on Women Victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
Sali Nath Pandey, an activist of Bhopal Group for Information and Action, said the Government is not sincere about bringing the culprits to book.
“Those who suffered in the Bhopal gas tragedy are putting up a fight against the high agencies of the world and that is the reason the fight has been continuing for so long, the justice seems so difficult.
The survivors find it difficult to get treatment, medicines and pension. This fight is among unequals,” said Pandey.
Victims of the tragedy are still battling deadly diseases. Doctors say many survivors -some from a generation born after the disaster – still suffer from deep psychiatric disorders and stunted growth. Thousands of women have severe gynaecological problems.
Activists say many gas-affected women have even fed their babies poisoned breast milk.
A demand for the return of Warren Anderson, former Union Carbide chairman, India, and for the trial in an Indian court, is growing.
Several non-government organizations and Greenpeace activists have launched protests demanding the cleaning up of the Union Carbide Factory site.
Union Carbide began cleanup work at the site after the incident, spending some two million dollar.
In 1984, Union Carbide accepted moral responsibility for the tragedy and established a 100 million dollar charitable trust fund to build a hospital for victims.
It also paid 470 million dollars to the Indian Government as compensation in 1989. The victims, on an average, received 25,000 rupees in case of illness and 100,000 rupees or so in case of a death in the family.
On the night of December 2, 1984, tonnes of a toxic gas leaked from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, killing 3,800 people on the spot and injuring thousands more.
The entire MIC (Methyl Isocyanate) affected area spread over 56 wards and having a population of more than six lacs.
Union Carbide has since been taken over by Dow Chemical.(ANI)

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