Puneites in dharna in Solidarity with the Bhopalis
June 16 , 4-7 pm,
Tilkak Putla, Mandai, Pune
A Pune supporter writes…
Please find attached photographs of the dharna (sit-in) for solidarity with Bhopal, organized today at Tilak Statue, Mandai in Pune.
We did a “GhanTaa-Naad (Bell-ringing) aandolan” along with the sit-in.
Activists from Lokayat, Pune Ma.Na.Paa. Kaamgaar Union, Shramik Mahilaa Morchaa and Sathi-Cehat joined in the sit-in. Lot of citizens from the passers-by also chose to sit along with us after hearing about the atrocities of the government.
Attached is an email that we had circulated for participation in this protest.
Wishing that the sound of the bells that we rang will help open the deaf ears of the Government,
Email to supporters:
23 long years on the path to justice!
You are all probably that the Bhopal gas survivors took out a padyatra from Bhopal to Delhi in Feb-Mar this year to press for their demands. Despite the long march, the PM refused to meet them, and the Bhopalis then sat down on a dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. Despite 77 days of the Dharna, the Prime Minister is yet to meet the people of Bhopal and their demands. They have tried all possible means from silent peaceful protests to street theatre to demonstrations and even ‘chaining themselves up’, to try and convince the PM to meet them. Activists of Delhi have held their hands in support. Even some Ministers, a few Members of Parliament and eminent people from the city have assured them of their support and promised them justice. But such is the clout of Dow Chemicals over the Prime Minister Office that the PM has only given vague assurances of meeting the demands of the Bhopalis. Considering the behaviour of the Indian government for the past 23 years, it is obvious that nothing will be done.
On 9 June, 33 people, women, children and men, who were staging a peaceful protest in front of the PMs Office were arrested, whipped with belts, the women strip-searched and their clothes torn, and then jailed. Rather than meet their demands promptly, the Government has ignored their march from Bhopal to Delhi, met their 2 month-long dharna with empty promises, and dealt with their non-violent protests with beatings and jailing. The attitude of the authorities clearly shows that they “want to teach the protestors a lesson.” It seems to be a coordinated effort to discourage democratic protest.
Since 10 June, nine activists, including gas survivors are on an indefinite hunger strike seeking justice. Three of the activists on indefinite hunger strike have begun their fast in jail. They demand: An Empowered Commission on Bhopal by endorsing the bill proposed by survivors organizations and committing to introducing it in the Parliament in the monsoon session; committing the funds required to allow the Commission to function for 30 years for medical, economic, social and environmental rehabilitation, and Immediate legal action against Dow Chemical and Union Carbide.
Supporters from different parts of the world, including Booker Prize nominated author Indra Sinha, are on a fast in support of the Bhopalis.
It has been 23 years of waiting, the Bhopalis refuse to be led on with false promises anymore.
Come and join, let us raise our voice in solidarity with the Bhopalis.
DHARNA IN PUNE IN SUPPORT OF THE HEROIC BHOPALIS