Bhopal nine end fast; 9 others take on baton

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karamchari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangarsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

2nd July, 2008
Press Statement
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After 22 days without food, the Bhopal nine break their fast with fruit juice
Marking 22 days of their hunger strike, the nine Bhopalis, including 7 who are survivors of the 1984 gas disaster and/or victims of water contamination, ended their fast at 2 p.m. on 2 July. Meanwhile, 10 people took on the baton announcing that the indefinite fast to break the Government’s silence on the Bhopal demands. The 10 people include 21-year old Suresh Pal, who was beaten and jailed for his peaceful demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s Office, Hakam Singh, an ailing gas victim, and Piyush Sethia, a supporter of the Bhopal campaign from Salem, Tamilnadu. The Bhopal nine broke their fast under medical advice after the doctor declared at least three people – Irshaad Khan, Meera More and Iqbal Khan Khokhar – to be in danger due to their abnormally low pulse rates and blood pressure. All three are gas-affected people; 20-year old Irshaad was born to gas-affected parents. Two of the Bhopal supporters – Texas-based Diane Wilson, and Chennai-based Shweta Narayan – have also ended their fast. Both said they will continue to mobilize public opinion in their respective areas to increase pressure on the Government to act urgently.
Outlining their future course of action, the Bhopal organizations said that the coming weeks will see more direct actions both in Bhopal and New Delhi. “We are putting out wall posters in Bhopal inviting people who are prepared to get arrested to come to Delhi for a series of civil disobedience actions. This is the end-game, and we will see it to its logical conclusion,” the organizations said. The groups will also hold a series of press conferences and public events in Bhopal to expose the BJP Government’s role in prolonging the misery of Union Carbide’s victims, and highlight Gas Relief Minister Babu Lal Gaur’s complicity with Union Carbide since 1981. International supporters too have promised to take action outside Indian embassies and consulates, and confront Indian politicians and officials during their visits abroad.
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Four of the next Bhopal fasters today
The global relay hunger strike, meanwhile, has attracted nearly 800 people from several countries who have signed up online to fast for a day or longer in solidarity with the Bhopalis.
“Various members of the Group of Ministers of Bhopal have assured us that the GoM’s recommendations closely reflect our demands. We also know that the Bhopal files are being moved at a unprecedented pace. We are now free to focus pressure on the Madhya Pradesh Government which is standing in the way of the Commission,” said Satinath Sarangi, one of the 22-day fasters.

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