Bhopal victims ‘award’ ministers

Gargi Rawat, NDTV.com
Sunday, August 12, 2007 (New Delhi)
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Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and Finance Minister P Chidambaram have been given the Mir Zaffar Award as a symbol of their betrayal of the Bhopal gas tragedy victims.
NGOs fighting for the victims have instituted the awards in the name of Mir Zafffar, who had sold out for to the East India Company at the time of the Battle of Plassey.
The awards were presented by an organisation that calls itself the Dalal (broker) Foundation.
Organised by the International Council for Justice, the event was an attempt to lampoon politicians, bureaucrats and industrialists who have allegedly sold out to Dow Chemicals.
“The documents we got from the Prime Minister’s office through the Right to Information clearly show that these people are trying to help Dow escape its legal liabilities in Bhopal,” said Satinath Sarangi, Activist and Organiser.
“This is being done because Dow has offered to invest $1 billion in India”.
Dubious distinction
The ”winners” also included Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Dow’s legal representative in India, and Ratan Tata, who has recommended the Dow case to the PM’s office and the Planning Commission.
”The Ministry of Fertilizers and Chemicals has filed an appeal that Rs 100 crore be deposited by Dow for the clean up of toxic waste at the Union Carbide site,” Sarangi said.
”Dow, through the US and its friends like Kamal Nath and Tata, is pressurising the government to withdraw the application so that Dow’s legal liability is not established”.
Through the tongue-in-cheek ceremony, survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy and the Dalal Foundation are trying to show that justice has still not been done.
They feel that politicians and industrialists are busy promoting the interests of Dow Chemicals instead of that of their own people.

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