While survivors’ organisations protest in Bhopal against Bush’s visit to India, the padyatris (see “March to Delhi blog”) keep abreast of the news via radio. Here Munne Bhai listens with a frown of evident disapproval.
BHOPAL, 1 MARCH 2006
By S Sanjay, sify.com
Bhopal Gas victims here in this central Indian town staged a demonstration Wednesday afternoon protesting against the upcoming visit of United States President George W Bush.
The protesters are demanding the speedy extradition of Warren Anderson, the former Union Carbide Chairman whom they hold responsible for the World’s worst man-made industrial disaster that occurred when tones of toxic methyl isocyanate and other poisonous gases leaked from Carbide’s pesticide plant on December 2 and 3, 1984, killing 3,500 people instantly (survivors organisations claim at least 8,000) and maiming several others for life (120,000 are still chronically ill in the city, 21 years after the gas).
Chanting slogans like George Bush hatyara hai (George Bush is a killer) and Bush haiwan, kiska mehmaan (Whose guest is Bush the dragon?), the protestors lead by Sadhna Karnik Pradhan of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sehayog Samiti were demanding that Anderson be brought to India and tried in the Bhopal court.
“More than two decades have passed since the massacre occurred but our government is unable to demand the extradition of Anderson responsible for the tragedy”, Ms. Karnik said, adding, “This when thousands of gas victims are still battling deadly diseases.
“Several immediate victims and some even from a generation born after the disaster-still suffer from deep psychiatric disorders and stunted growth while thousands of women have severe gynaecological problems”, she claimed.
Two days ago another victims organisation, the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udhyog Sangathan, lead by its convenor, Abdul Jabbar, had lodged a similar protest outside the now defunct Union Carbide pesticide plant.