Category Archives: ICJB Victories

Posts that highlight the victories of ICJB

Survivors celebrate Supreme Court victory

Organisations working with the survivors of the December 1984 Union Carbide disaster held a celebratory party for S Muralidhar, the survivors’ lawyer in the Supreme Court of India.

As counsel for Mrs Rashida Bee, Mrs Champa Devi Shukla and 34 other victims of Carbide’s gases, Muralidhar had moved a Writ arguing that undistributed compensation money held without explanation in the Reserve Bank of India for the last 15 years should be distributed among the 500,000 plus survivors. On July 19, 2004 the Supreme Court directed that the monies, amounting to Rs. 1,503 crores (€266 million, £180 million, US$324 million) belonged to the gas victims and should be given to them. Divided between more than half a million people, this isn’t Eldorado, in many cases it will not cover what people have spent on medicines, but it is nonetheless a great victory and was celebrated as such in the bastis and bidonvilles of Bhopal.

At the party, held in Chhola Naka near the Union Carbide factory, hundreds of gas victims garlanded Mr. Muralidhar amidst the sound of drums, cheering and clapping. Mr. Muralidhar in his speech advised the gas victims to deposit the money they receive in accounts in post offices. He cautioned the people not to give in to officials who might demand bribes and to put the money towards long term benefits. He assured that he would continue to fight for the rights of the gas victims. Mrs Rashida Bee and Mrs Champa Devi thanked Mr. Muralidhar on behalf of the residents of the 36 gas affected wards.<br
Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Syed M Irfan, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Shahid Noor, Bhopal ki Aawaaz
Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra, Bhopal Group for Information and Action

Share this:

Facebooktwitterredditmail

Supreme Court orders unpaid compensation money to be given to survivors: celebrations in Bhopal, gloom in Midland, Michigan

19 July, 2004, Bhopal In a major victory for the Bhopal survivors, the Supreme Court today ordered the Government of India to distribute the balance of compensation remaining from Union Carbide’s settlement among the 566,876 Bhopal survivors whose claims have been successfully settled. The balance of the hitherto undistributed compensation has accumulated interest and grown to Rs. 1,505 crores (some $327 million).

Survivors whose claims may have been wrongly dismissed or who were underpaid were directed by the court to file a separate application, and seek compensation from the Government of India. The case, argued by Advocate S. Muralidhar, was filed on 5 March 2003 by 36 petitioners representing one gas-affected wards each.

While this is a real victory for the survivors and their supporters, they have been made to wait nearly twenty years since the night of terror. The average payout will still only amount to $570 per person which, despite Dow-Carbide’s now famous dictum that “$500 is plenty good for an Indian”, comes nowhere near meeting the costs of medical treatment that survivors have already had to fund for themselves, much less compensating for two decades of illness, loss of livelihood and fear for what new horrors may emerge in their bodies.

It is a further setback for the Dow-Carbide corporation and its political accomplices in India, who are on record as demanding that this money, meant for the relief of the survivors, should be used to clean up the company’s abandoned and polluted factory in Bhopal. Last month, the Government of India threw its weight behind a court action to force Dow-Carbide to bear the full costs of cleaning the plant. (See stories below)<br
Needless to say, today the Bhopalis are jubilant. This evening, the city will be in a celebratory mood – a large, colourful juloos is planned. The media has set upon them, and a press conference is being held at 5 p.m. Bhopal time.

Click here for the answer to the question posed in the caption.

Share this:

Facebooktwitterredditmail

Government of India issues historic order, satyagrahis end fast

INDIAN GOVERNMENT BOWS TO PRESSURE, AGREES TO SUBMIT STATEMENT TO U.S. COURT IN THE UNION CARBIDE-BHOPAL CONTAMINATION CLEAN UP CASE.

New Delhi, June 23, 2004: Six days after three Bhopal activists began their hunger strike, the Government of India finally bowed to pressure and agreed to submit a statement to the New York District Court in the Bhopal contamination clean up case. This statement now has to reach the US Court before the deadline of June 30th. The activists have been assured that the New York Court has already been alerted by the Indian government.

Upon receiving this communication from the Prime Minister’s Office, the three activists who have been on a hunger strike since June 18th broke their fast in the presence of many trade union leaders and supporters including Swami Agnivesh.

“This statement brings us one step closer to a historic order by the US Court directing Union Carbide to clean up the toxic contamination in and around the factory premises in Bhopal,” said Satinath Sarangi, ICJB activist and one of those on hunger strike. “Such an Order will not only uphold the ‘Polluter Pays’ principle, but will set a precedence to hold multinational companies accountable in their home country for their actions abroad.”

More than 20,000 people from over 14 bastis have been affected by the serious contamination emanating from the tonnes of toxic chemicals and chemical waste dumped in and around the Union Carbide factory premises. They, and their supporters from around the world, now expect the US District Court to order Union Carbide to clean up the contamination at Bhopal to the best global standards possible.

“We hope that the Prime Minister who intervened in this matter will show the same kind of sensitivity and alacrity in dealing with other pending issues in Bhopal and in holding Union Carbide’s new owner Dow Chemicals liable for the pending issues in Bhopal. These include criminal justice as well as economic and medical rehabilitation issues of the gas leak-affected and contamination-affected people of Bhopal”, said Rasheeda Bi, winner of the Goldman Prize 2004, who has also been on hunger strike since June 18th along with Mr Shahid Noor. Mr Noor, orphaned by the gas leak in 1984, currently runs Bhopal Ki Awaaz, an organization for similarly orphaned persons.

Thousands of petition mails and faxes have been sent from the USA and many other countries including India to the concerned ministries and the Prime Minister urging them to act fast, and make good the opportunity provided by the US Court. Hundreds of Bhopal supporters who have also been on hunger strike in solidarity with the three activists fasting at Jantar Mantar, celebrated the good news by breaking their fast.

HUGE THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT EMAILS AND FAXES AND THOSE WHO JOINED THE HUNGER STRIKE AROUND THE WORLD.

For more information on the campaign, and to join the petition campaign, please visit:

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

For further information:
Ms Rasheeda Bi, Mr Shahid Noor and Mr Satinath Sarangi: +91-98-102-02105 or +91-755-3132298; Ms Anuradha Saibaba on + 91-98-119-03172; 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
agniveshpic.jpg
Swami Agnivesh, one of many leaders who came to be with the Satyagrahis when they ended their fast earlier today in New Delhi.

Share this:

Facebooktwitterredditmail

'Quick action': President of India makes a promise

“A process for cleaning up of the site has to be set in motion and I agree that this is a neglect that has to be rectified.” With these words Dr Kalam, President of India, places his considerable office squarely behind the ICJB’s demand for the environmental clean up of Carbide’s festering Bhopal factory. The assurance of “quick action” towards this goal was given to students from “We For Bhopal”, based at Hindu College, Delhi, during a 45 minute meeting with the president to discuss Bhopal. When reminded that India has an opportunity “to stand tall before the world” by making Dow-Carbide, the polluter, undertake the clean up, Dr Kalam promised to look into all the legal and human ramifications of the matter without any delay.

Meanwhile in Bhopal, on Friday survivors met with the MP Minister of Gas Relief and Rehabilitation, Babu Lal Gaur, to press demands for clean piped water into contamination-affected communities. On Sunday, members of the press taken on a “toxic tour” of these 12 communities were shown noxious smelling water and met with residents suffering contamination derived abdominal pain, persistent headache, skin eruptions and cancer. Instances of growth retardation among children, some appearing six years younger than their actual age, and birth defects were also brought to their attention.

INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR JUSTICE IN BHOPAL
March 26 2004
Press Statement

At a meeting with New Delhi-based youth supporters of the struggle for justice by the survivors of the Bhopal disaster, the President of India said the lack of remediation of the toxic wastes and contaminated lands and groundwater in and around Union Carbide’s Bhopal factory site is matter of serious concern.” Assuring youth from the Hindu College’s Bhopal support group “We for Bhopal” of quick action, he said: “A process for cleaning up of the site has to be set in motion and I agree that this is a neglect that has to be rectified.” Four student representatives – Pawas Bisht, Shivani Mutneja, Vaibhav Patel and Aditi Rajvanshi — of “We For Bhopal” and their teacher Suroopa Mukherjee met the President at Rashtrapati Bhavan for 45 minutes on 25 March, 2004.

“We for Bhopal conveys its shock and dismay at the manner in which the disaster continues to affect the lives of people, and emphasized that the toxic contamination and poisoned groundwater left behind in Bhopal by Union Carbide should be cleaned up without delay and at the cost of the polluters,” the student group said.

The President was briefed of a recent landmark decision in the Appeals Court in New York in an appeal filed by survivors and survivors organization which would make it easier for the Indian Government to make Union Carbide clean up in Bhopal. In reinstating the Bhopal survivors’ case to the District Court of New York, the US Appeals Court has directed the Court to remain open to the survivors’ request for injunctive relief for clean-up of Carbide’s factory site by the company. However, the Court has said that such a request can only be considered if the Indian Government or Madhya Pradesh government also indicate that they support the survivors’ request for clean-up by Union Carbide.

“This is such a simple request that we cannot understand why the Indian government would not do it without any hesitation,” said Aditi Rajvanshi of “We for Bhopal”. “This is an immense opportunity for India to stand tall before the world we won’t hesitate to make a US multinational clean up its mess,” she added. The president promised to look into all the legal and human ramifications of the matter without any delay.

Other demands put forward by the students, include the immediate provision of piped water supply for those forced to use poisoned water; prompt distribution of the Rs. 1505 crore balance of compensation funds, resolution of the criminal trial against Union Carbide Corporation, setting up of an independent People’s Commission on Bhopal, and the release of ICMR’s medical reports on Bhopal.

Commenting on the meeting with the President, We for Bhopal said “The President’s assurance that he would use his office to get justice in Bhopal done will be the first step towards hope for the survivors of Bhopal.”

For more information, contact:
Shivani Mutneja (Delhi mobile): 981082951 (International callers, add country code +91)

Or visit: www.studentsforbhopal.org (see Asian Age coverage below)

PIC2
Gas Relief Minister Babu Lal Gaur attempts to explain the inexplicable…

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

March 28, 2004
Press Statement

Several media persons today, joined the “toxic tour” of the communities next to the abandoned Union Carbide factory in Bhopal. The ground water in 12 communities namely Atal Ayub Nagar, Annu Nagar, New Arif Nagar, Blue Moon Colony, Nawab Colony, Shri Ram Colony, Sunder Nagar, Prem Nagar, Shiv Nagar, Garib Nagar, Timber Market and Chandwadi is known to be contaminated by chemical wastes that were recklessly dumped by the Union Carbide management in and around the factory from 1970 to 1984. The toxic tour was organized by three organizations working among the survivors of the December ’84 Union Carbide disaster in this city.

The tour started from Atal-Ayub Nagar where journalists spoke to Haseena Bee who complained that people in her family and others in her neighbourhood suffer from abdominal pain, persistent headache, skin eruptions and growth retardation among children. Savitri Bai from this community took the reporters to the hand pump next to her house and urged the reporters to taste the water. She said her husband was sick for last two years and unable to work. The team of journalists also met with children with growth retardation who appeared to be six years below their actual age.

The media team next went to Blue Moon Colony situated next to the remains of Union Carbide’s Solar Evaporation Ponds, They met with Feeroza who spoke about the deteriorating health condition of people in her community and said that the government must make arrangements for supply of Kolar water through pipe lines. The journalists were shown samples of water with noxious smell from different hand pumps in the community. They spoke to Aqeela Bee who at the age of 35 had 2 to 3 menstruation in a month and 33 year old Shahajahan who said she stopped enstruating at the age of 25. Both stated that menstrual disorders were common among women in the neighborhood.

In Annu Nagar the journalists went through the medical papers of two cancer patients – Qamar Sultana and Munni Bee. They also met with 30-year-old Fazilat who is incapable of bearing children following malformation in the fetus and repeated miscarriages. The media team spoke to the parents of Iqbal and Zarina, both in their teens, with congenital malformations.  Jameela from this community said that too many children were being born with birth defects.

Mrs. Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh,
Syed M Irfan
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha,
Rachna Dhingra, Satinath Sarangi
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

Contact :
1.      House No. 12, Gali No. 2, Near Naseer Masjid, Bag Umrao Dulha, Bhopal Tel: 3132298
2.      B-2 / 302, Sheetal Nagar, Berasia Road, Bhopal Tel : 9826167369

———————————————
Hindu College team at Kalam’s door for Bhopal

The Asianage (3/27/2004 12:51:46 AM)

New Delhi, March 26: In yet another effort to get the voices of the Bhopal gas tragedy victims heard, the students of Delhi University’s Hindu College met President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Thursday and apprised him of the sufferings of the victims.

After hearing the four student representatives from Hindu College’s Bhopal support group “We for Bhopal,” Dr Kalam assured them “quick action.” The students apprised him of the pile-up of toxic wastes and the contaminated land and groundwater in and around Union Carbide’s Bhopal factory, where the gas leak occurred in 1985.

During the 45-minute interaction with Dr Kalam, the students reiterated that “the toxic contamination and poisoned groundwater left behind in Bhopal by Union Carbide should be cleaned up without further delay and at the cost of the polluters.”

To the students’ demand for cleaning up the contamination to prevent more damage to lives, Dr Kalam said, “A process for cleaning up the site has to be set in motion and I agree that this is a neglect that has to be rectified.”

The President was also briefed on a recent landmark decision in the second circuit court of appeals in the US federal court at New York, which has invited the governments of India and Madhya Pradesh to submit a communication stating that India has no objection to clean up soil and groundwater contamination. “This is such a simple request that we cannot understand why the Indian government would not do it without any hesitation. This is an immense opportunity for India to stand tall before the world,” said Ms Aditi Rajvanshi, a student representative from the Hindu College. The other three representatives who met the President included Ms Shivani Mutneja, Mr Pawas Bisht and Mr Vaibhav Patel.

The other major demands made by the students included immediate provision of piped water supply for those forced to use poisoned water, the setting up of a distribution compensation funds and resolution of the criminal trial against Union Carbide Corporation.

Commenting on the meeting with Dr Kalam, the students said, “The President’s assurance that he would use his offices to get justice in Bhopal will be the first step towards giving some hope to the survivors of Bhopal.”

“We For Bhopal” was formed by some students of Hindu College with the support of the faculty members later last year in collaboration with the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.

dr-kalamforweb.jpg
Dr Kalam agrees that Carbide’s mess must be cleaned up as soon as possible
gasministerforweb2.jpg

Share this:

Facebooktwitterredditmail

Students for Bhopal Targets Dow’s Decision-Makers

By Ryan Bodanyi

Over the past three years, students have made it difficult for Dow’s decision-makers to ignore Bhopal, much as they might like to. In fact our efforts have shown how much power even a few students can have when they bring Bhopal ‘home’ to Dow.

UMBhopal90 Michael Parker Dow CEO
In Mr. Parker’s Neighborhood 

On Bhopal’s 18th anniversary, Dec. 3rd, 2002, students organized their first protest targeting a Dow executive. More than a dozen students from the University of Michigan traveled to Midland, Dow’s headquarters, to protest outside the home of Dow’s then-CEO, Michael Parker. Dow was forewarned of the trip and we expected to find a darkened and empty house. You can imagine our surprise when, quite the contrary, we found that Michael Parker was hosting a full-blown party on the night of the Bhopal Anniversary. Fancy cars lined the streets and the laughter inside could be heard clearly throughout the Parker estate. Was this the way that Dow’s CEO chose to commemorate the world’s worst-ever industrial disaster, for which his company was now liable? It boggled the mind.

Lugging our vigil candles, Bhopal banners, tombstones and posters to the door, we were doubly surprised when he came out himself to meet us. We shouldn’t have been; Parker had long cultivated a reputation as a smooth talker, able to disarm activists with his friendly recital of Dow’s PR talking points. It was a skill he’d used often before, and he may have relished the thought of doing so now, before the television camera crews on his front lawn. Whatever his intentions may have been, things didn’t work out as he’d planned. The laughter and tinkling of glasses from the party behind him made his professions of sympathy sound foolish and hollow, and our rapid-fire questions put him off guard. The liquor we smelled on his breath may also have been a factor; before long, we could tell that he was ready to snap. He did so when a small protestor at his shoulder pointed out that the Polluter Pays principle was the law in India, and that Dow should follow the law. “That’s your OPINION!” he shouted into her face, towering above her. On video, it didn’t look good.

Nine days later, Michael Parker was forced to resign as Dow’s CEO. In its statement, Dow explained that the move had been made for “financial” reasons.

Milwaukee19 James Ringler

Milwaukee3 James Ringler

Outside the home of James Ringler

 

 

 

“That worked so well,” we thought, “let’s try it again!” For the 19th anniversary of the disaster, we decided to deliver samples of contaminated water from Bhopal direct to the doors of Dow Boardmembers across the country. After what had happened last year, they were expecting us. At the time Dow’s Board included a former Senator and Secretary of Commerce, a MacArthur “genius” award-winner, the former President of Princeton University, and the CEOs of several major American corporations. These powerful, influential, and important people had a decision to make: they could attempt to repeat Michael Parker’s failed performance by appearing at the door to talk about Bhopal or – faced with a few students, a sample of Bhopal water, and a just cause – they could flee in fear. Can you guess which option they chose?

Yep, they chose to flee. Students across the country found darkened homes with the shades drawn tight – if any members of the Board were home, it certainly seemed like they were under the bed. In fact, students were only successful in speaking with one of Dow’s 14 Boardmembers – Harold Shapiro, the former President of Princeton University. Conveniently enough, he’d scheduled a public speech for the day before the anniversary – and it was on bioethics. After the talk several Princeton students presented him with his sample of contaminated water from Bhopal. He was not happy.

Feel like getting in on the fun? You, too, can make Dow’s Boardmembers unhappy by reminding them of their ability – and responsibility – to end the killing in Bhopal.

Share this:

Facebooktwitterredditmail