Category Archives: ICJB Calls to Action

Read our Latest “Calls to Action” from ICJB to our many members

Major trade unions extend their support to the Bhopal activists on hunger strike and pledge to take up the matter with the Prime Minister tomorrow.

New Delhi, June 22, 2004:With just seven days left for the Union Government to send a positive communication to the US District Court in the Bhopal contamination clean up case , several major trade unions of India have decided to swing into action. They have pledged to raise this matter with the Prime Minister of India in a meeting tomorrow. The trade unions which extend their solidarity include Hind Mazdoor Sabha [HMS], All India Federation of Trade Unions [AIFTU], National Trade Union Initiative [NTUI], All India Agricultural Workers Union [AIAWU], All India Central Council of Trade Unions [AACCTU], All India Agricultural Labour Association [AIALA], National Federation of Indian Women [NFIW] of All India Trade Union Congress [AITUC].

“This is a matter of utmost importance. By sending this communication to the US Court, the government has everything to gain and nothing to lose”, felt the trade union representatives, referring to the enormous costs involved in the clean up, as well as the technological expertise required for remediation of the site.

This morning, the three hunger strikers, Ms Rasheeda Bi, Mr Shahid Noor and Mr Satinath Sarangi, who are in the fifth day of their indefinite fast to press the Indian government to act immediately, addressed representatives of various trade unions and appraised them about the inaction by the Indian government.

“After the meeting with the trade union representatives, it was heartening to see that many like-minded groups believe that this letter to the US Court should have been sent by the Indian government by now. The contaminated communities have suffered for many years now and the toxic mess needs to be cleaned up immediately. Given that this is a unique opportunity to get the polluter to pay, it is inexplicable why the Indian government should delay sending this letter’, remarked Shahid Noor who has been on a fast since June 18th. Shahid was orphaned by the gas leak in 1984 and heads an organisation of people orphaned by the disaster called Bhopal ki Awaaz.

The delegation of Bhopal activists also met with Mr Oscar Fernandes who assured them that he had written to all three ministries concerned, Law, Environment and Chemicals & Fertilisers, requesting them to act in time. Others who spoke with the hunger strikers and extended support today included M C Mehta, Goldman Prize Winner and Amarjeet Kaur of All India Trade Union Congress. At the time of filing of this update, the Law Ministry officials had not yet drafted any communication clarifying their stand.

For more information on the campaign, please visit:

https://www.bhopal.net or http://www.greenpeaceindia.org or http://www.studentsforbhopal.org

Join the petition campaign and send a webfax

You can also contact the following persons or numbers for more information:

Ms Rasheeda Bi, Mr Shahid Noor and Mr Satinath Sarangi, the three hungerstrikers on the following mobile numbers: +91-98-102-02105 or +91-755-3132298; Ms Anuradha Saibaba on + 91-98-119 -03172 or Ms Vinuta Gopal on +91-98-455-35418 or Ms Kavitha Kuruganti on +91-80-36882103

You can send an email to the following addresses:

vgopal@dialb.greenpeace.org; campaigns@theothermedia.org; kavitha_kuruganti@yahoo.com

1. On March 17th 2004, a New York District Court provided a unique opportunity to clean up of toxic contamination in and around the Union Carbide factory premises, by ruling that if the Indian government or Madhya Pradesh government urges the US Court to order such relief before June 30th 2004, then the lower court can order Union Carbide to clean up the abandoned factory site and its surroundings. This is in the Sajida Bano et al vs Union Carbide and Warren Anderson case.
manmohansingh.jpg
Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India. Campaigners remain quietly hopeful that his new government will act to end the suffering of thousands of Bhopalis

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***Urgent Action*** Day 2 of Waterless Fast, Join the Hunger Strike, Sign the Petition

Fast-Without Water for Justice in Bhopal
Day 2 19 June, 2004

Saturday was the second day of the fast-without-water for Shahid Noor, Satinath Sarangi and Rashida Bee. Champa Devi and Wahid are sitting along with them but not fasting. Vardrajan, Secretary of CITU, met with the satyagrahis and has promised that he will talk to the Prime Minister about sending the letter. The delegation also met with Kapil Sibal (Minister of Communications), who also promised to talk to the Prime Minister and Minister of Chemicals. Oscar Fernandez (Minister of Planning) also came to visit the satyagrahis and he too has said that he will talk to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Rashida, Sathyu and Shahid are in good spirits and health wise they are also doing okay. Shahid is showing signs of deyhdration and has lost 3 kilos weight. Latest medical reports here (Word file). Rashida asks us to convey her thanks to all of you.

Sign up to fast for a day.

Email, phone, fax or write to PM Manmohan Singh and Chemicals Minister Paswan with the legal opinion why there is no obstacle to the Government of India sending the required letter to the New York Court.

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Tell the Indian government to say YES to a clean up in Bhopal

***Urgent Action Alert***
Fax the Government! Join the nationwide hungerstrike!

In a historic ruling reached in response to a suit filed by Bhopal survivors, a court in New York has agreed to consider survivors’ claims for getting Union Carbide to clean up the toxic wastes in Bhopal.

For this to happen, the Indian Government needs to submit a letter to the New York court expressing its support for the survivors’ claims, and assuring the court of the Government’s interest in having Union Carbide clean-up the contaminated site and groundwater.

The DEADLINE set by the New York court for receipt of such a letter is June 30, 2004.

1) Fax the Indian government HERE
2) Join the nationwide hunger strike HERE
3)Call, write, and email the Indian gov’t!! Read on for more details.

If the Indian government sends a letter to the New York court by June 30, Carbide could be forced to clean up

Contact the Prime Minister of India and the Minister of Chemicals, Gov’t of India:

Request that the Government of India say “YES” to a cleanup in Bhopal.

Request that the Government send the letter to the New York court by June 30, 2004, expressing support to survivors’ claims for environmental remediation by Union Carbide.

Address your calls, faxes and emails to:

1. Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India
Prime Minister’s Office
Room No. 152,
South Block,
New Delhi, 110001
Tel: +91 11 23012312, 23018939, Fax : 23016857

Bungalow No. 19,
Safdarjung Road,
New Delhi. 110011
Residence Tel 23018668, 23015470
Fax : 23015603

2. Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister of Chemicals
Tel: +91 11 23386519, 23386364 Fax: 011 +91 11 233 86519
Email: mincf.cpc@sb.nic.in
jsc.cpc@sb.nic.in)

3. Or send the letter below to the Government of India.

TALKING POINTS FOR PHONE CONVERSATIONS:
1. Ask for The Indian High Commissioner.
2. Subject of the call: To urge the Government of India to submit a letter by JUNE 30 supporting Bhopal survivors’ claims in ongoing lawsuit in New York court seeking remediation of contaminated factory site and surroundings by Union Carbide.
3. More than 5000 tons of toxic wastes abandoned by Union Carbide in Bhopal represents an ongoing source of pollution.
4. Nearly 20,000 people in the vicinity are forced to consume contaminated water due to the inaction by the Government and the company.
5. After two decades of inaction by Government and industry, survivors approached the Second District Court of New York seeking remediation of contaminated site and groundwater by Union Carbide.
6. Clean-up should be paid for by the Polluter — Union Carbide. Costs of clean-up can run into several hundreds of crores, and shouldn’t be passed on to taxpayers.
7. The Second District Court of New York has indicated that it will consider the claim if it receives a letter BY JUNE 30 from the Government of India indicating the Government’s support of plaintiffs’ claims for remediation by Union Carbide.
8. Reiterate that you are calling to press upon the Government to submit a letter to the New York court supporting the survivors’ claims for clean-up by Union Carbide.

BACKGROUND:

The world’s worst-ever industrial disaster devastated the Indian city of Bhopal nearly 20 years ago, in 1984. Union Carbide’s deadly legacy continues to haunt the people of Bhopal. Toxic wastes abandoned by Union Carbide remain strewn in and around the factory site representing an ongoing source of pollution. Poisons from these wastes have contaminated the groundwater serving more than 20,000 people.

After two decades of inaction by the company and the Government, survivors and residents from the contaminated areas filed a suit in the Southern District Court of New York seeking clean-up of the contamination by Union Carbide.

A March 17, 2004, order of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, USA, ruled that survivors’ claims seeking clean-up by Union Carbide should be considered by the New York District Court if “the Indian government or the State of Madhya Pradesh seeks to intervene in this action or otherwise urges the Court to order such relief.” The New York District Court has given the Government of India until June 30, 2004, to submit such a letter.

MODEL LETTER TO GOVT OF INDIA:

To: The Prime Minister,
Govt of India
Prime Minister’s Office
Room No. 152,
South Block,
New Delhi, 110001
India

COPY TO:
Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan,
Minister of Chemicals
Shastri Bhavan
New Delhi 11000
Tel: +91 11 23386519, 23386364 Fax: +91 11 23384020

Dear Sir,
I’m writing to urge your Government to do right by the survivors of the Bhopal disaster by taking steps to address their long-standing concerns. Thousands of tons of toxic wastes lie dumped and open to the elements in and around the former Union Carbide factory in Bhopal. Poisons from these wastes have leached into the groundwater serving more than 20,000 people in the neighborhood.

After two decades of inaction by the company and the Government, survivors and residents from the contaminated areas filed a suit in the Southern District Court of New York seeking clean-up of the contamination by Union Carbide. (Sajida Bano et al v. Union Carbide Corporation and Warren Anderson)

A March 17, 2004, order of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, USA, ruled that survivors’ claims seeking clean-up by Union Carbide should be considered by the New York District court if “the Indian government or the State of Madhya Pradesh seeks to intervene in this action or otherwise urges the Court to order such relief.” The New York District Court has given the Government of India until June 30, 2004, to submit such a letter.

Allowing the polluter to escape because it is a powerful MNC, and allowing the victims to be revictimised because they are seen as powerless poor people is a dangerous folly. Not only does it underestimate the power of organized and globalised resistance that the Bhopalis are capable of unleashing, it also projects India as a willing dumping ground for the world’s dirty technology.

I urge the Indian Government to support the legal action initiated by survivors by writing to the Southern District Court of New York urging the court to order plant site and groundwater remediation by Union Carbide Corporation.

Sincerely,

Address:
Email:

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+++ Urgent Action Alert +++ Take action against corporate crime on Dec 3 2003

The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal has declared the upcoming anniversary – 03/12/03 — of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, the ‘Global Day of Action Against Corporate Crime’. Besides coordinating protests against Dow-Union Carbide facilities worldwide, the ICJB invites all groups fighting corporate crime to take action on December 3 against the human, environmental, consumer and labour rights violations by private or public corporations.

December 3 is a time for us to mourn for the dead but also to fight for the living, by reminding the world that Bhopal is not history but an ongoing crime that can yet be stopped. We believe that justice in Bhopal can set an inescapable precedent, aiding all those suffering at the hands of corporate criminals. Please follow the ‘03/12/03 Day of Action’ link on the left to find out more.

The ICJB DEMANDS THAT THE DOW CHEMICAL COMPANY MUST:

1. Face Trial : Ensure that prime accused Warren Anderson, former chairman of Union Carbide ceases absconding from criminal justice in India and the authorized representatives of the company [Dow-Union Carbide] face trial in the Bhopal criminal court.

2. Provide long term health care: Assume responsibility for the continuing and long term health consequences among the exposed persons and potentially their future generations. This includes medical care, health monitoring and necessary research studies.
The company must provide all information on the leaked gases and their medical consequences.

3. Clean up the poison: Remove the contamination of the ground water and soil in and around the abandoned Union Carbide factory in Bhopal. Provide for supply of safe drinking water to the community.

4. Provide Economic and social support : The corporation must provide income opportunities to victims who can not pursue their usual trade as a result of exposure induced illnesses and income support to families rendered destitute due to death or incapacitation of the breadwinner of the family.

dead-children-colourforweb2.jpg
December 3, 1984. Copyright Pablo Bartholomew.

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Bhopal clinic worker harassed by Hindutva thugs

Bhopal: On 11-12 October, 2003, Satinath (Satyu) Sarangi, Bhopal activist and coordinator of the Sambhavna Clinic in Bhopal, was threatened by militant Hindu fundamentalists from the right-wing Bajrang Dal. Not only that, Satyu is now faced with harassment charges of criminal intimidation and abuse filed by Bajrang Dal member Mr. Jeetu who claims that Satyu attacked him. Satyu is being targeted because his clinic provides service to numerous indigent survivors of the Bhopal holocaust, including a substantial number of muslim patients.

Please take a moment to help prevent Satyu from facing false charges.

The intimidation faced by Satyu is in line with the criminal and violent manner in which Hindu right-wing forces are openly pursuing their agenda.

Fortunately,Satyu’s filing at the police station reporting Mr. Jeetu’s intimidation and abuse precedes the report filed by the Bajrang Dal members. However, the charges against Satyu carry a maximum of 2 years in jail and/or fine.

We request you to spend a few minutes to call or fax the District Collector of Bhopal to vouch for Satyu’s character and protest against the communalisation of day-to-day life in India. A draft model letter is pasted below.

To: Shri Anurag Jain

Collector, Bhopal

Madhya Pradesh

Fax: +91 755 2546733. From within India, dial: 0755 2546733

Tel: +91 755 2550003. From within India, dial: 0755 2550003

DRAFT LETTER

Dear Sir:

DATE: 14 October, 2003

Subject: Communal thugs threaten well-known health activist Satinath Sarangi

I’m aware and heartened by your proactive efforts to curb communal forces in the city of Bhopal, and would like to express my concern over a disturbing incident that happened late at night on 11 October, 2003, in the jurisdiction of the Gautam Nagar Police Station.

Mr. Jeetu, a resident of Block A, Sheetal Nagar in the Gautam Nagar Police station area, was introduced to Mr. Satinath Sarangi by an acquaintance with whom the latter was chatting en route his home in Block B, Sheetal Nagar. Mr. Jeetu appears to be a local Bajrang Dal strongman. I’m sure investigations by your office will confirm his antecedents and connections to communal elements and activities. Subsequent to his introduction to Mr. Sarangi, Mr. Jeetu began abusing Sarangi for the latter’s alleged closeness to the Muslim community (particularly among the gas-affected) in Bhopal. Mr. Jeetu has also threatened Mr. Sarangi.

I know Satinath Sarangi to be an upright man who has dedicated the last 19 years of his life to the cause of justice for the survivors of the Bhopal disaster. Sarangi is well known in India and internationally, particularly for his work in providing quality and much-needed medical care to the survivors of the disaster through the clinic in which he works. I also know that Sarangi is devoid of any communal biases, and that the Sambhavna clinic caters to all survivors irrespective of their religion or caste.

Mr. Jeetu & co have not only threatened Mr. Sarangi and spouted openly communal and abusive statements, they have also filed a police complaint against him for criminal intimidation and abuse at the Gautam Nagar Police Station. Moreover, the only two witnesses to the incident – a watchman and Sarangi’s acquaintance who introduced him to Mr. Jeetu — are currently being threatened and are frightened to testify.

I request your office to verify the antecedents of Mr. Jeetu, and intervene to not only free Mr. Sarangi of the illegitimate charges faced by him, but also to root out communal thugs such as Mr. Jeetu to make Bhopal a safer place. I also request you to take steps to reassure the witnesses and provide them with the necessary assurances for their safety so that they can testify honestly when the need arises.

Sincerely,

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