Boston commemorates 30th anniversary of Bhopal Gas Disaster with vigil, chants Calls for continuing struggle for justice and ensuring “No More Bhopals”
A large number of people turned up in front of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on 77 Mass. Ave in Cambridge on Dec 3 2014 to mark the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster. A section of the official press release from the survivor groups in Bhopal was read out by Nitin Gujaran, a volunteer with Association for India’s Development (AID).
The press release called for the governments of India and US to take immediate steps towards justice. It also called for continued struggle among the international support groups to continue to press Dow Chemicals for accepting its responsibility.
After a minutes’ silence, people representing different groups expressed their opinions. Christopher Perkins of the International Workers of the World (IWW) confirmed support and solidarity for workers and people who struggle everywhere in the world. He pointed out the role of corporations in amassing disproportionate wealth and influence and exerting undue leverage in policies and decisions that affect all our lives.
Leonid Chindelvitch of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) highlighted how institutions of higher learning such as MIT supported Dow and even had some academic chairs endowed by Dow.He also stated that he was one of the 30 volunteers around the world on a waterless fast on that day in solidarity with the Bhopal struggle.
Somnath Mukherji of AID also pointed to the criminal involvements of Union Carbide and Dow, calling them “fugitives from justice.”
Ed Childs with the hotel workers union, Unite Here, and associated with Harvard University, stressed sustainable practices at universities and the elimination of corporate stakes in university administration. He mentioned the solidarity between US allies and Vietnam-based groups to push for justice in Vietnam and hoped global solidarity could continue to work for justice in Bhopal.
The vigil also included members from Colombia Vive, TecsChange and other anti-imperialist groups participate.
More than 25000 people have lost their lives and over 500,000 have suffered from the effects of the leak.
The site is contaminated and continues to leach chemicals into the ground. To this day people are affected by the poisonous surrounding and children continue to be born with congenital abnormalities. The survivors of Bhopal continue to struggle for their right to adequate health care, economic and social rehabilitation, compensation, a pollution-free environment and justice.
The vigil was interspersed by chants for justice and also the popular slogan from Bhopal -“Hum Bhopal ki naari hain, Hum phool nahin chingari hain” (We are the women of Bhopal, We are embers not flowers).
The singing of the well-known resistance song “We shall overcome” concluded the vigil.
Contact: Nitin Gujaran at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Aravind Prasad