ANI, June 11, 2008
New Delhi, June 11 (ANI): Victims of Bhopal gas tragedy have gone on an indefinite hunger strike to pressurize the government to give into their demands.
Satinath Sarangi, member of the Bhopal Group for Information Action said, “We will end our hunger strike only after we win our demands.”
The victims also said they were expecting support from social activists in 18 other countries.
Social activists also joined the victims and said they would mobilize support for them.
“We have joined the victims of the tragedy to strengthen their fight. We will mobilise support for them from other activists who might be involved in other projects,” said Shabnam Hashmi, a social activist.
The protesters had staged the protest outside the Prime Minister’s office on Monday demanding government’s commitment on appointing a special commission to be set up for their rehabilitation.
More than 3,500 people died following leakage of toxic fumes at a pesticide plan in Bhopal on the night of December 2, 1984.
Officials say nearly 15,000 people have died since then from cancer and other diseases.
In 1984, Union Carbide accepted moral responsibility for the tragedy and established a 100 million dollars charitable trust fund to build a hospital for victims. Later Union Carbide was taken over by Dow Chemicals. The company also paid 470 million dollars to the Indian government in 1989 in a settlement reached after a protracted legal battle. 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.
Michigan-based Dow Chemical says it is not responsible for clearing up as it never owned or operated the plant. The Madhya Pradesh government now owns the abandoned plant. (ANI)