Category Archives: Shameless

Posts that highlight the most shameless acts by Dow Chemical and Union Carbide, the Government of India, the United States government, and others

Injured Bhopali boy may lose his hand

Anger flares as crowds hold Dow and Coe responsible

“What I’m seeing is a very violent lathi charge against people lying on the tracks, and stone throwing against police, a full-on battle. I’m seeing more fires on the road, women with blood running down their faces from head wounds, cage-like structures full of people presumably under arrest, and some of the TV cameras now appear to be shooting from behind riot shields. There are clearly thousands of people on the streets.”

Spoke on the phone a few hours ago to a survivors’ leader in Bhopal. Sorry not to get this up sooner, a lot of things are going on. Everyone flying about crazily. Here’s what she told me:

15-year old Daoud is seriously injured in hospital and may lose his hand after it was badly mangled by a rubber bullet fired by police.

It happened at Barkhedi, one of five places where the survivors lay down on the tracks to stop trains.

The survivors had announced the places where survivors were to make their way in groups and the police in riot gear with helmets, shields and cudgels (lathis) were waiting.

Police attack and beat elderly women and men

Among the survivors in this place were several older women, among the Goldman Prize co-winner and co-founder of the Chingari Trust, Rasheeda Bi (55).

Police attacked her with cudgels and fists. Her brother in law, coming to her aid, had his leg broken in three places.

Among the other older ladies attacked by police with cudgels were Hazra Bee, a grandmother whose grandchildren suffer serious birth defects, and Bano Bee (60), whose hand is badly bruised and swollen. In 2006 in Delhi, Bano was knocked unconscious by a police kick to her ribs. In hospital she was threatened being cut open. 18 year old Rafat was dragged along the stony ground till her skin was scraped off. Nafisa was also beaten. Like Rashida and Bano, Nafisa has twice walked the 500 miles to Delhi (she is the first speaker in Daniel Gosling’s excellent video of the 2008 padyatra, where at 9′:43″ you can see Rashida, Nafisa and Bano together.).

Police attack sparks angry response

The attack on the women drove the younger boys and men to a fury and they began throwing stones at the police, who responded by throwing stones back at them.

The police then fired rubber bullets directly into the mass of survivors on the tracks. This is when Daoud’s hand was injured.

Until the police attacked the women the action had been peaceful. Pictures and footage from Barkhedi clearly show the police attacking with cudgels first, after which the situation grew increasingly violent.

The protests passed off peacefully at the other four locations.

Eight women were arrested but are now released after, as reported in the earlier post, survivors leaders met the Chief Minister, who agreed to all their demands (for details of these please see the rail roko pages links at right) and wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The response to the rail roko call was overwhelming. Fifty thousand people turned out onto the streets.

“We had never expected so many,” said the survivors’ leader, “the people were angry about being lied to for years. They were angry that people in high places side with Dow, as the London Olympics are doing, and Lord Coe’s continual parroting of Dow PR … Even after the Chief Minister called us [the survivors’ leaders] to a meeting and agreed to all our demands – the people have learned not to trust politicians – they wanted to stay on the railway tracks.”

Even after the action was called off people were wandering with blood on their faces and clothes joined huge crowds milling in the centre of the city, who were horrified to see the state of them.

Huge public anger at Dow and Coe

Anger turned to fury when the TV networks began broadcasting reports that Dow Chemical had refused to appear before the Supreme Court and that Lord Coe was refusing to withdraw his support of Dow.

Dow’s statement, issued through its lawyers was so terse as to be insulting and its remarks dismissive, designed to provoke.

“The Bhopal victims have been more than adequately compensated.”

Really? Well, Lord Coe, check these figures. Then decide whether you’ll also start repeating Dow’s famous 2002 statement, made the year after it merged with Union Carbide:

“$500 is plenty good for an Indian”.


 

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Look at it another way:


 

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Police fire on, stone and beat Bhopal survivors

One critical, many arrested in Rail Roko, eyewitnesses speak of people covered in blood on 27th anniversary of gas disaster

Keep visiting this site for the latest news as we get it. This post is still being written as you are reading it. Please refresh your browser

The “rail roko/stop the trains” protest in Bhopal began peacefully as planned at dawn this morning. Survivors with their families and friends gathered in groups and went to places on the railway line to lie down and begin a peaceful protest.

Police in riot gear with shields and “lathis”, long heavy clubs, turned out in force and began to attack the survivors, sparing neither the old, women and children.

Phone reports speak of people hit by stones and lathis covered in blood. One person is said to be critical in hospital. Many have been arrested. Bodies are lying on the ground in scenes reminiscient of the gas disaster of which today is the 27th anniversary.

Rail Roko facts and figures here

The “rail roko” was a desperate last attempt to get the Indian government to publish the true figures of deaths and injuries attributable to the 1984 gas disaster. It is well recognised the numbers of victims were vastly underrated.

The $470 million 1989 settlement between Union Carbide and the Indian government was based on those figures, consequently the compensation available to victims was pitifully inadequate.

That settlement was not, as Union Carbide’s alter ego Dow Chemical (they merged into one operation in 2001) claims “full and final”. It was reopened by the Supreme Court in 1991 when criminal charges were reinstated against Union Carbide.

The present government has gone back to the Supreme Court with a “curative petition” to seek additional compensation from the company on the basis of what we now, 27 years later, know to be the scale of the human toll.

While welcoming the curative petition, the survivors are frustrated because the government is still not publishing the true figures. For example the curative petition counts 5295 deaths, but the government’s own figures, obtained from the Indian Council of Medical Research and other government bodies, put the true death toll at 22,917.


 

CLICK CHART FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE FIGURES

 


That figure continues to grow. Just last week our friend Raghubir lost his battle against the injuries sustained on “that night”, 27 years ago.

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Bhopal Survivors to stop Trains on Dec 3, 2011 if the government does not present correct data on the death and injury figures in the upcoming hearing of the Compensation petition

 Press Statement                                       17 October 2011

 

At a press conference today five organizations of the survivors of December 84, Union Carbide disaster announced that they will hold a peaceful ‘Rail Roko’ (Stopping Trains) if their demand for ensuring adequate compensation to all victims of the disaster is not met within the next one month. The organizations who had organized a successful city wide bandh recently demanded that the central and state governments present correct figures of injury and death in the soon to be heard curative petition in the Supreme Court.

 

“The peaceful manner in which survivors of all walks of life came together for the ‘bandh’ is a testimony of the Bhopali’s collective spirit against injustice”, said Rashida Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh. “We are very hopeful that the call for indefinite peaceful ‘Rail Roko’ will receive similar widespread response from the survivors of the disaster” she said.

Banner Reads: Adequate Compensation is a right of every gas victim; Stop Trains on Dec 3 2011 for your right of adequate compensation

The organizations presented copies of letters sent to the Prime Minister, Chief Minister and Group of Minister on Bhopal in the last one year on the issue of wrongful denial of compensation to majority of the gas victims. “All we are asking is that the government presents figures of injury and death based on the report of the Indian Council of Medical Research on the health impacts of the disaster. These findings show that majority of gas victims are permanently and not temporarily injured and that the death toll of the disaster is about five times more than the official figures”, said Nawab Khan of the Bhopal  Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Morcha.

 

Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action said that they are giving the government one month’s time, which is more than sufficient time to review and rectify the figures of death and injury in the curative petition. He said that the organizations were well aware of the inconvenience that would be caused to ordinary people due to the indefinite rail roko and are inviting suggestions for other equally effective mass actions at # 9826167369. He however hopes that good sense will prevail upon the concerned state and central government officials so that rail roko was no longer necessary.

 

Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha appealed to all survivors of the disaster who has not received adequate compensation to join the petitions to the Prime Minister and Chief Minister on this issue. The petition which will be submitted to the central and state governments in the next fifteen days has already been signed by over 10,000 survivors, he said.

Rashida Bi,Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh

94256 88215

Nawab Khan,Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha

9302792493

Balkrishna Namdeo,Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha

9826345423

Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,Bhopal Group for Information and Action

9826167369

Safreen KhanChildren Against Dow Carbide

9303831487

 

Contact: 44, Sant Kanwar Ram Nagar, Berasia Road, Bhopal, Web: www.bhopal.net

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Bhopal Gas Survivors Shut Down the Old City of Bhopal (Bandh) and ask the govt to provide correct figures on death and injury in the upcoming petition on additional compensation

October 11, 2011

Press Statement

The five survivors’ organizations who had given the call for today’s bandh (city wide shut down) congratulated the over half million survivors of the disaster for its success. They thanked the workers unions, traders associations and other survivors’ organizations as well political parties for their active support in organizing the city wide strike.

Rally in the middle off shut down chowk bazar in Bhopal

The organizations are demanding that the central and state governments present correct figures of death and the actual extent of injury caused by the disaster in the soon to be heard curative petition in the Supreme Court of India. Through the petition the governments are seeking compensation from Union Carbide, USA and its current owner Dow Chemical, USA.

On the basis of Union Carbide’s internal documents and findings of the decadal epidemiological research by the Indian Council of Medical Research, the survivors’ organizations are calling for a significant revision in the government’s assessment that 93% of those exposed to Union Carbide’s toxic gases suffered only temporary injury.

As part of the bandh all shops (other than medicine stores), restaurants, workshops  and other establishment were closed in the city and the main roads had no auto rickshaws or buses plying. The five survivors organizations said that they now plan to hold other protest actions on the same issue with voluntary and peaceful mass participation.

A rally was taken out by the organizers of the bandh from Peer Gate through the main commercial areas that was led by the survivors organizations and leaders of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nyaya Morcha and Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti as well representatives of Bhopal Transport Hammal Mazdoor Union and the Communist Party of India and Communist Party Marxist.

Rashida Bi,Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh94256 88215 Nawab Khan,Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha9302792493 Balkrishna Namdeo,Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha9826345423 Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,Bhopal Group for Information and Action9826167369 Safreen Khan Children Against Dow Carbide9303831487

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bhopal gas tragedy: Govt, Union Carbide struck ‘secret’ deal post leak

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/story/bhopal-gas-tragedy-union-carbide-india-deal/1/146044.html

Dinesh C. Sharma  | New Delhi, July 25, 2011 | Updated 08:44 IST

More skeletons relating to the handling of the Bhopal gas tragedy are tumbling out of the Indian government’s cupboard. New revelations show that Union Carbide mooted the idea of a “negotiated settlement” within weeks of the gas leak that took place in its Bhopal plant in December 1984.

Not only this, it also decided on the quantum of compensation to be paid to victims as part of the settlement. In exchange, it sought exemption from any liability. The idea found ready acceptance in the Rajiv Gandhi government.

While getting the government engaged with the idea of a settlement in 1985, Carbide also cleverly outlined the “categories of claims” for the injured.

Camouflaging the fact that the leak would have long-term health effects, Carbide proposed four categories of injuries which ignored multifarious lifelong as well as inter-generational health impact of MIC gas. The government used the same classification in 1987 in its petition in the court and also in the negotiated settlement it had with Carbide in 1989.

Worse, the same 1985 classification was used by the government in the civil curative petition it filed in the Supreme Court in December 2010 for enhancement of compensation.

 

According to the curative petition, the world’s worst industrial disaster had just 42 victims under the category of “utmost severe cases”. The petition is likely to come up for hearing next month. The picture on how the idea of a negotiated settlement emerged was made clear after documents were obtained under RTI and made public in Bhopal on Saturday.

A scrutiny of the papers shows that a top Carbide functionary, Rolf H. Towe, along with the Indian subsidiary’s managing director, V. P. Gokhale, proposed the negotiated settlement in a meeting with B. B. Singh, who was the chemicals and fertilisers secretary on February 28, 1985.

According to the minutes of the top secret meeting, Singh was told that Carbide chief Warren Anderson had already met the Indian ambassador on this matter in Washington and had been told that “the Government of India had an open mind on the issue” but would like Carbide to take the first step.

Following the meeting, Carbide made a formal proposal on March 4, 1985, stating that it was “intended at avoiding protracted litigation in India or in the US by or on behalf of the claimants”. The proposal contemplated “the payment of a predetermined fixed sum or money by UCIL and UCC to the central government”. Carbide arbitrarily chose the Railways Act for fixing the amount to be paid for deaths and injuries arising because of the gas disaster, overlooking the fact that the havoc caused by a gas leak was in no way comparable to a railway accident.

The Union Carbide plant in Bhopal.

The most shocking part of the Carbide offer was this: it clearly stated that “in exchange (of the settlement), UCIL and UCC will require that all claims by Indian citizens, corporations, partnerships or other entities arising out of, or connected with, the Bhopal gas leak disaster against either or both of them, their affiliates, directors, officers and employees to be fully released and extinguished in all respects”. Instead of rejecting such an offer for indemnity from claims, the chemicals and fertilisers ministry accepted the proposal.

It is this process that finally led to a settlement in the Supreme Court six years later and freed Carbide of any liability in India. “The injury categories assigned to victims by Carbide were unscientific.

The Indian government introduced the same categories and paid the minimum amount of Rs 25,000 as compensation to 94 per cent of the victims with lifelong injuries,” said Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, which obtained the documents under RTI. Sarangi said the same mistakes were being repeated in the curative plea filed now, which has not asked for compensation for damages caused to the next generation.

The petition seeks enhancement of the amount to Rs 6,000 crore, while calculations made by the Bhopal groups – based on ICMR data – put the figure close to Rs 37,000 crore or $ 8.1 billion.

What Carbide proposed in 1985 and govt obliged

  • A negotiated settlement instead of compensation based on victims’ claims
  • Payment of money to Indian government & not directly to victims
  • Compensation of Rs 1 lakh for every death
  • Unscientific injury categories which assigned most victims to ‘temporary injury’ category
  • Petty compensation of Rs 25,000 for people who suffered lifelong injuries
  • Medical facility and trust fund for future injuries

 

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