Dow row turns political as VHP backs villagers

Express India, August 4, 2008
Pune, August 04 Villagers of Shinde Vasuli, who have been protesting against a proposed Dow Chemicals project, have received support from unexpected quarters — the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Dow proposes to set up a research and development facility over 100 acres in the village, but villagers are concerned that it would pollute the environment.
“We agree with the villagers’ concern. The Indrayani and Chandrabhaga rivers will get polluted due to the release of chemicals. Followers of Tukaram Maharaj take a holy dip in the river and the pollution would pose a health hazard to these followers, who come from across the state,” Venkatesh Abdeo, the VHP’s national joint secretary, told reporters here.
Abdeo pledged to join villagers in the protest. He said the state government was not serious about the environmental threat and was inviting a repeat of accidents like that in Bhopal in 1984.
The western region unit of VHP passed a resolution against the project, demanding that the state government respect the sentiments of locals and block the project.
Abdeo justified a recent incident when protestors set fire to Dow Chemicals’ construction site. “The police is protecting the company even though the protesting villagers are being threatened with dire consequences,” the VHP leader alleged.
Meanwhile, the VHP would continue with the nationwide bandh on the Amarnath land transfer row and would take a morcha to the residents of MPs, Abdeo said.

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