Bhopal marks International Women's Day with noise and silence

Today, on the occasion of International Women’s day, all 73 women from the Gas Peedith Mahila Stationary Karamchari Sangh gathered in front of the house of the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Uma Bharti – the first woman CM to be elected in the State. They were there to press their demands that the Government of MP finally obey the Dec 2002 ruling of the Labor Court that stipulated that gas-affected women stationary workers’ jobs be given the same pay and conditions as those of other local stationary workers. The women, who unaccountably still also wait for back pay ordered by the court, also reiterated that the Government of MP must help in impleading Dow in the ongoing criminal case and take steps necessary to ensure that gas survivors gain proper treatment at all hospitals bound to treat survivors. In lieu of the presence of Uma Bharti, who just happened to be out, a delegation of five women met with her public affairs representative, Mr. Shaitan Singh. Mr Singh promised to arrange a meeting with the Chief Minister in next few days, and assured the delegation that the new BJP government will now make concrete efforts in ensuring justice for the stationary workers. The women report the day to have been a great success!

Simultaneously, gas-affected women and staff of the Sambhavna Clinic held a silent protest outside the Indira Ghandi gas affected women’s hospital in Bhopal to highlight the deliberate neglect in research, monitoring and treatment of women victims. The high prevalence of gynaecological diseases such as leucorrhoea, menstrual irregularity, pain and cervical cancers amongst Bhopali women was first mooted in the 1980’s, yet the problems continue to suffer scandalous neglect by the local health authorities.

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Sitara Bee, a cervical cancer survivor who was diagnosed and treated at the Sambhavna Clinic. She is now active in improving the health of her community, Atul Ayub Nagar

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Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh

March 5, 2004
Press Statement
Members of the all women trade union — Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh will be demonstrating before the residence of the Chief Minister on the occasion of the International Women’s Day on March 8. The women, all of who are survivors of the December ’84 Union Carbide disaster, will demand the CM’s intervention to ensure medical care, economic rehabilitation and justice for the victims of the disaster.

The protestors will raise the issues of official neglect of the health problems caused to women due to Union Carbide’s poisons and the failure of the state government in providing gainful employment to women victims. They will highlight the closure of work-sheds in 1992 by the BJP government that rendered 1300 women survivors jobless.

Members of the union will point out the non-implementation of the orders of the Labour Court by the state government. This order of December 2002 directed that the women’s jobs at the Stationery Production Centre under the Government Printing Press be regularized. The state government had appealed against this order but the Industrial Court upheld the Labour Court’s decision in July 2003. The state government is thus violating the decision of the court for the last seven months. The women activists will also call on the first woman Chief Minister of the state to support the long struggle of the survivors against Union Carbide and its new owner The Dow Chemical Company.

Mrs. Rashida Bi,
President
Mrs. Champa Devi Shukla,
Secretary
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh

Contact :
House No. 12, Gali No. 2, Near Naseer Masjid, Bag Umrao Dulha, Bhopal Tel: 3132298,  5259361

For more information please visit www.bhopal.net

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S a m b h a v n a   T r u s t

44, Sant Kanwar Ram Nagar, Berasia Road, Bhopal 462 018  Tel: 2730914 / 2743157 

March 5, 2004
Press Statement

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, women victims of the December ’84 Union Carbide disaster will demonstrate in front of the Indira Gandhi hospital for gas affected women on March 8. The women hope to highlight the deliberate neglect in research, monitoring and treatment of women victims by the government and the Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust. The silent protest will be from 11 AM to 1 PM.

Government hospitals and agencies such as Indian Council of Medical Research continue to ignore the epidemic of gyanecological diseases as a consequence of the toxic exposure that continues till today. The prevalence of leucorrhoea, menstrual irregularity and pain and cervical cancers continues to be higher among the gas- affected women.

It appears that the women residents of the communities affected by ground-water contamination also suffer from similar diseases. Adolescents born to exposed parents after the disaster are found to suffer from menstrual disorders. There is an acute need for the state government and the Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust to acknowledge, assess and address the long neglected issues of health care of women exposed to the poisons of Union Carbide.

Aziza Sultan

Community Health Worker

Email : sambavna@sancharnet.in    Web site : www.bhopal.org

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