Bhopal gas victims begin fast

Staff Reporter
“We have come here for justice and we are not leaving without it”
# Demand for inter-ministerial agency to provide health care, social support, economic rehabilitation to victims
# Clean water, setting up prosecution cell to pursue case against Union Carbide, demanded
# Foreigners also join strike, support across the world
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— PHOTO: PTI
“DON’T IGNORE US:”A street play being staged in support of an indefinite hunger strike by six persons, including three victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Tuesday.
NEW DELHI: Six persons, including three victims of the Bhopal gas disaster, on Tuesday began an indefinite hunger strike at Jantar Mantar here, demanding that the Government address their demands.
The six — Shehazadi Bee, Champa Devi Shukla, Sanjay Verma, Satinath Sarangi, Satish Kumar and Rachna Dhingra — are part of a 46-member team that had walked 800 km from Bhopal to New Delhi in 33 days recently to present their demands and draw the Government’s attention to the plight of Bhopal people.
“The Prime Minister has refused to meet us, stating that he has nothing to say. The Government cannot ignore us any more. We have come here for justice and we are not leaving without it,” said Shehazadi Bee.
‘Next 30 years’
Demanding a national commission on Bhopal, Champa Devi Shukla said: “The Government should set up an inter-ministerial coordinating agency with necessary authority and funds to provide facilities for health care, medical research, social support and economic rehabilitation of the people poisoned by Union Carbide/Dow Chemical and their children for at least the next 30 years.
This Commission must have the active participation of non-government doctors, scientists and representatives of survivors’ organisations.”
The demands
The Bhopal victims are also demanding clean water, cleaning up of the contaminated water, setting up a special prosecution cell to pursue the criminal case against Union Carbide and others and including the tragedy story in the curricula of schools and colleges.
Two youths from abroad, Sebastien Juarez and Josh Imeson, have joined the hunger strike for three days. On April 13, they will hand over the relay fast to Diane Wilson, a Texan fisherwoman-activist.
She will begin an indefinite fast in Austin, Texas, in support of the cause.
More than 120 people from 10 countries, including China, Switzerland, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Ireland, Spain and Singapore have signed up via www.bhopal.net to go on fast.
“We will return to Bhopal only when the Government announces the setting up of a national commission and commits to funding it with a corpus that will yield Rs. 50 crores a year.
Also, the Government should commit itself to setting up a special prosecution cell in the Central Bureau of Investigation to focus on the Bhopal criminal cases,” said Champa Devi Shukla.

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