FROM BHOPAL SURVIVORS AND THE ICJB IN DELHI
For 21 years we have waited and suffered; we have drunk poisoned water; we have been beaten and kicked by police for daring to ask why the Supreme Court’s order to give us clean water was ignored; our young women cried to learn that they were feeding their babies poison in their breast milk; we were slapped, punched and arrested when, because nobody else was doing it, we attempted to contain the toxic wastes in Union Carbide’s abandoned factory that are poisoning our wells; we have been called liars, malingerers, scammers and beggars. Now we have walked 800 kilometers from Bhopal to New Delhi to secure for ourselves and our children justice and a life of dignity.
We are the victims of Union Carbide’s poisons in Bhopal. Many of us inhaled the poison gases on the night of December 2-3, 1984. Of these, more than 150,000 are still suffering. There are others who are new victims who drink handpump water laced with poisons leaching out of the thousands of tons of toxic wastes that still lie abandoned in and around Union Carbide’s factory. We know of at least 70 children from these settlements that have serious birth defects. We know these deformities are because of the water that we are being forced to drink.
The Prime Minister of India doesn’t care. We are camped out on the pavement in Jantar Mantar in New Delhi since 27 March, right across the street from the camp of another prominent example of the disdain with which our government treats its poorer citizens. Representatives of people who have lost their land, or stand to lose it, to the rising waters of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the River Narmada fill the air with slogans of struggle and resolve. Both, the Narmada oustees and the Bhopal survivors are camped out under the open sky. Both issues have been festering for more than 20 years; but the Prime Minister just doesn’t seem to care.
We’re poor, you see. When George Bush came, our Prime Minister was everywhere, smiling, almost purring as he was patronisingly patted by Bush. He made time for the CEO of Dow Chemical who came with George Bush. He has known since February 20 that we were arriving on foot from Bhopal, but he has said he doesn’t have time for us.
Our Prime Minister has always wanted lots of foreign investments. He is respectful, even fearful, of foreign investors. He does not want to impose any laws on them, and certainly not punish them, even if they are responsible for something as devastating as the Bhopal disaster. We are ashamed of what our country has become – a dollar hungry nation that is willing to sacrifice its people for a fistful of dollars. We are left with no choice but to go on an indefinite hunger strike. We don’t believe that this will evoke sympathy in the hearts of our Prime Minister or other politicians. That is not our objective. We want to awaken the consciousness of the public. What happened to us, can happen to you, is happening to many others. Let’s reclaim democracy; let’s celebrate protest; let’s revive efforts to build a truly vibrant and humane India; let’s remind the Government who’s boss.
You can help
1. Sign-up for a day or more as part of the Global Relay Hunger Strike. You can register at https://www.bhopal.net/2006hungerstrike.html
2. Send an online fax to the Prime Minister. Go to http://www.studentsforbhopal.org/FaxAction/fax_action.php
For more information, contact: Nity (+91 9868474437). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.