Bhopal Survivors Urge Prime Minister to Undo Injustice
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, Press Statement for immediate release on June 8, 2010
Contact: U.S., Shana Ortman, 415-746-0306; India, Nityanand Jayaraman: +91 9444082401, www.bhopal.net * www.studentsforbhopal.org
Bhopal survivors are responding to the Indian Law Minister’s statement that the justice was buried in the criminal case on the Union Carbide’s disaster in Bhopal. A guilty verdict was handed down yesterday against the 8 living Indian (Union Carbide India Limited and 7 individuals) accused in the Bhopal Disaster criminal case, and survivors are calling the diluted charges and light sentence a travesty of justice. Survivors also want to see the principle accused, Union Carbide and it’s former CEO Warren Anderson, tried and punished in an exemplary manner.
Representatives of the four survivor organizations that make of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) have pointed out the measures that can be taken to undo the judicial disaster. As a minister in charge of the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) the Prime Minister must set up the Special Prosecution Cell that ICJB has been demanding for last 18 years. The first thing that this cell must do is to move on enhancement of the sentences of the accused, said Rashida Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh.
ICJB leaders say that the CBI has taken a soft line towards Union Carbide’s current owner Dow Chemical in the last several years and expressed hope that things will change. “The CBI must execute the summons issued against Dow Chemical by the Bhopal District Court in January 2005 and take action on the basis of its investigations on payment of $200,000 as bribe to officials in the agricultural ministry. The CBI needs to recognize that as the full owner of the absconding corporation, Dow Chemical is committing the crime of sheltering a fugitive from justice,” said Syed M. Irfan of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha.
The organizations pointed out that Dow has also helped Union Carbide Corporation continue its business in India, while absconding from Indian courts. The most glaring example, they said, was the sale of Union Carbide’s patented technology UNIPOL to Reliance Petroleum Limited (RPL) for its polypropylene unit in Jamnagar, Gujarat in 2006.
The organizations condemned the US state department’s representative reported statement that yesterday’s verdict would bring closure to the issue of criminal justice in Bhopal. “Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh should be inspired by President Obama’s recent commitment towards making BP corporation for its oil spill in Gulf of Mexico. He must demand that the American government must follow the same standards on corporate liability for US corporations operating in India as it expects other corporations operating in US,” said Satinath Sarangi of Bhopal Group for Information & Action.
The organizations said that the Indian government must join the ongoing litigation in the US federal court against Union Carbide Corporation & Warren Anderson on the issue of toxic contamination of soil & water in and around the abandoned factory. They said that the case filed by a group of victims in 1999 has faced several hurdles because of the absence of the Indian government who owns the land on which the factory was situated. They said that if tears being shed on the lack of justice are genuine the Indian government will join the case in support of plaintiffs to ensure clean up of the contamination and payment of compensation of personal injuries and property damages.
The International Campaign for Justice for Bhopal (ICJB) is a coalition led by four survivor organizations along with environmental, social justice, progressive Indian, and human rights groups supporters around the world. ICJB works to hold the Indian Government and Dow Chemical Corporation accountable for the ongoing chemical disaster in Bhopal, India. It was set up to address the grave injustices suffered by the half million Bhopal Gas Disaster survivors.
For more information, contact: In North America, Shana Ortman: 1-415-746-0306, firstname.lastname@example.org In India, Nityanand Jayaraman: +91 9444082401
visit www.bhopal.net or www.studentsforbhopal.org
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal leaders:
Rashida Bee, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Syed M Irfan,Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, +91 93290 26319
Rachna Dhingra, Satinath Sarangi, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, +91 98261 67369
Safreen Khan, Children Against Dow Carbide, +91 9303831487