INDIA ENEWS.COM, MARCH 18, 2007
Five fasting survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy have been forcibly removed to hospital by police here for refusing to take medical aid till Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan accepted their various long-pending demands.
They were picked up while on the 14th day of their fast Saturday and have been lodged in the Hamidia Hospital here where they are not being allowed to meet anyone.
Bhopal District Collector S.K. Mishra has admitted to having issued the orders to remove the hunger strikers to the hospital, adding that charges of attempted suicide may be pressed on them.
The survivors have been staging strikes for the past month under the campaign ‘Jeene Ka Haq’ (Right to Live) to mark the first anniversary of their 800-km protest march from the city to New Delhi in support of their demands.
The campaign has been launched to push for the resolution of their demands, including healthcare, economic rehabilitation and social support for the survivors and their families, availability of safe drinking water and removal of hazardous waste from the Union Carbide Corporation’s (UCC) now-defunct pesticide plant.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had earlier conceded their demands for clean water and environmental, economic and medical rehabilitation.
Disaster occurred on the night of Dec 2, 1984, when over 40 tonnes of lethal Methyl Iso-Cyanate (MIC) spewed out of the pesticide plant killing more than 3,000 people instantly and maiming thousands for life.
More than 15,000 people affected with the exposure of toxic gas have died since then.
Meanwhile, leaders of various gas-survivors’ organisations including Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh (BGPMSKS), Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha (BGPMPSM), Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA) and Bhopal Ki Aawaaz (BKA) have condemned the state government’s alleged indifference towards the suffering of the people.
‘The state government was ignoring the decisions of the Coordination Committee on Bhopal set up by the prime minister last year for relief and rehabilitation of the gas victims. It was also guilty of not following the directions of the Supreme Court regarding supply of safe drinking water to the affected communities next to the UCC,’ Rachna Dhingra of BGIA, whose condition is said to be deteriorating after 14 days of fast, told IANS.
The survivors have decided to call a nationwide agitation against the state government and have resolved not to end the strike until their demands are met.