Chennai 8th April 2006:
The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB), an international coalition of organisations and individuals working towards achieving justice for the victims and survivors of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy, today launched a photo exhibition at the Alliance Francaise of Madras.
The exhibition featured photographs from the 800 km long march that the survivors embarked upon from Bhopal to Delhi. A music video by The Banned titled ‘No More Bhopal’ and a documentary on Union Carbide’s repeated efforts to evade justice was screened. The march was taken up by 150 survivors of the tragedy with the single aim of meeting the Prime Minister and resolving their long pending demands.
Three Padma Shri award winners from Chennai, Ms. Chitra Vishweswaran, Ms. Leela Samson, Ms. Malavika Sarukkai and danseuse/actress Ms. Anita Ratam were also present on the occasion. They presented letters in support of the survivors to the Prime Minister urging him to deliver justice immediately to the 22 year long struggle. A large number of youth from Chennai also attended the exhibition.
The exhibition will also be held at Spencer Plaza on April 9th from 4pm to 6pm and again at Alliance Francaise from April 10 to14. The supporters from Tamil Nadu will hold a fast on the April 12 as part of the global relay fast in support of the indefinite hunger strike to be launched by the Bhopalis in Delhi.
Survivors are currently on an indefinite strike at Jantar Mantar since their arrival in Delhi last month. The Prime Minister has since declined to meet the Bhopal delegation despite the fact that a meeting had been requested more than 50 days ago. Unfortunately, unlike the Bhopalis, Dow Chemicals’ CEO Andrew Liveris has had no trouble getting audiences with the Prime Minister, who met him for lunch on two occasions – on September 15, 2005 in New York, and on March 2, 2006 in New Delhi when Liveris had accompanied the Bush delegation. Dow Chemical wholly owns Union Carbide Corporation, the company that was declared an absconder by the Bhopal court for failing to honour court summons to appear in court to face charges of “culpable homicide” in a matter related to the 1984 gas disaster.
Barring the Ministry of Chemicals, which was positive on all six demands of the survivors, the signals from the Government indicate that it is unwilling to hold the company accountable for fear of angering US investors and Government. On a more positive note the campaign has received a major boost from eminent US citizens like Congressman Frank Pallone and 10 other members of the US Congress who filed an amicus curiae brief supporting Bhopalis claims against Union Carbide Corporation in a lawsuit where Bhopal residents have demanded clean-up and compensation for damages to health and property.
The exhibition that aims to gather support for Bhopal from Tamil Nadu was also to educate citizens on impending Bhopals in the state which remains one of India’s three most toxic hotspots.
For more information contact:
Dharmesh – 9444416546 / Shweta – 9444024315.
H 19/4, Gangai Street, Kalakshetra Colony, Besant Nagar, Chennai – 600090
The exhibition also had a good media response, 3 national newspapers The Hindu, The Indian Express and Economic Times a national news agency PTI and a national news channel CNN-IBN were among the ones present. Two of the four celebrity supporters have endorsed the campaign and given us their letters of support to the PM which will be scanned and uploaded tomorrow. The exhibition will be held at a very popular local mall called Spencer Plaza and then be back to Alliance for another four days from the 10th – 14th.
Radio Mirchi will announce the exhibition for all the four days and Southern Spice a popular south Indian music channel will air the ‘No More Bhopals’ video next week.
we had an excellent photo exhibition at the Alliance Francaise of Madras, the French cultural center in Chennai. It was attended by about 100 – 150 supporters including two celebrity guests, Ms. Anita Ratnam and Padma Shri Ms. Leela Samson.