Bhopal gas victims plan indefinite hunger strike

TIMES OF INDIA
Monday, April 10, 2006
NEW DELHI: Six victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy will go on an indefinite hunger strike from Tuesday to protest against the government apathy towards their demands.
A 100 protestors have been taking out marches and shouting slogans for a month now, asking for a new compensation package and rehabilitation of the survivors.
“The government is not taking any action against the extradition of Union Carbide’s former chairman and for the rehabilitation of the victims and their families,” said Nityanand Jayaraman, a social activist who is leading the agitation in the capital, on Monday.
Jayaraman said the government had announced Rs 500 million for the victims, but the compensation was still due.
“The government has not announced a new compensation package and the fast will be our way of showing resentment against the government,” he added.
As a sign of silent protest on Monday, the agitators lay on the road and covered themselves with white sheets in order to recreate the scene after the accident.
“Through this protest we want to tell the government that around 20,000 people have died so far and every year around 350-400 are dying because of the after-effects of the accident,” said Shehzadi, a 49-year-old survivor.
She said these figures came from a study conducted by the Madhya Pradesh government.
The protesters include survivors of the tragedy caused by a leak of over 40 tonnes of lethal methyl isocyanate gas from Union Carbide’s pesticide plant on the night of December 2-3, 1984, in Bhopal.
Shehzadi said the agitators have asked the government to increase compensation and to provide basic facilities at the rehabilitation camps.
“We have been forced to live in places that lack drinking water facilities and we have asked the government to provide these facilities.”
Though the government had filed a criminal case against the then Union Carbide chairman Warren Anderson, the police were unable to produce him before the court.

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