Friday, April 14, 2006 (New Delhi):
Twenty-one years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, sympathy for the victims is growing.
Now over 300 people from 15 nations have signed up for a relay hunger strike.
The move is to express support with the survivors who are on an indefinite hunger strike in the Capital.
The protest comes soon after they marched 800 kms from Bhopal to Delhi to voice their demands for clean drinking water.
The toxic waste dumped by the Union Carbide factory has not been cleaned up, leaving local residents with no option but to use contaminated groundwater for drinking purposes.
Demanding clean water
Among those protesting against contaminated water are students of Ramjas college.
Nayanjyoti and Akhil, who are studying for their first year final exams, are on a one-day hunger strike to express solidarity with the Bhopal gas tragedy survivors.
The striking youths are demanding clean drinking water, since those who live around the abandoned factory are forced to drink toxic ground water even today, despite Supreme Court orders that clean water be provided to them.
The protestors are also demanding that Dow Chemicals that has bought Union Carbide, be forced to clean up.
“They are just asking for clean water. That should not be denied to anyone. It’s a fundamental right,” said Akhil Mishra, Ramjas College student.
Both students from Delhi University believe in the Gandhian form of protest. They say the only way to make demands is through non-violence.
“There are various movements like Naxals and ULFA, but terrorism only creates more problems. I am from Assam and I have seen how violence achieves nothing. This is a form of terrorism against your own people,” said Nayanjyoti, Ramjas College student.
Terrorism means different things to different people, but for these two students, the fact that even 21 years after the Union Carbide gas leak most families still don’t receive clean drinking water, is a form of terrorism.