DAILY TIMES, LAHORE
NEW DELHI: Indian activists launched a hunger strike Tuesday, seeking compensation for thousands of slum dwellers poisoned by the 1984 Bhopal gas leak in which clouds of toxic fumes spewed from a plant.
The six campaigners ate stuffed Indian bread with pickle as their last meal on a pavement in downtown New Delhi as traffic roared by. Protesters have been camped on the sidewalk since March 25 after staging an 800-kilometre trek from Bhopal in central Madhya Pradesh state.
They decided to launch their fast in which they will only drink water because they felt nobody was paying attention to their protest. “This is our last weapon. It has been 21 years. The government hasn’t done anything,” said gas leak survivor Champa Devi Shukla.
Fasts are a favourite weapon in India since being popularised by pacifist independence leader Mahatma Gandhi. The hunger strike was the second in the capital. Prominent environmental activist Medha Patkar was in the 13th day of a hunger strike in hospital to demand help for villagers displaced by a massive dam. AFP