ANI, December 4, 2007
BHOPAL: Survivors of the world’s worst industrial disaster, the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984, held a torch light rally here to remember those killed by leaked lethal methyl isocynide gas from a Union Carbide pesticide plant 23 years ago.
Thousands of men, women and children marched through the city’s streets carrying lit torches. They sought prompt payment of compensation to survivors and kin of the dead.
On the night of December 2, 1984, tonnes of a toxic gas leaked from the pesticide plant owned by Union Carbide, killing 3,800 people almost immediately. Thousands more sustained severe afflictions.
Over 2000 women became widows overnight because of the deadly gas leak.
Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action said the rally, a tribute to the victims, was aimed at drawing attention to their plight.
“Today, we are lighting the candles to tell the world how 23,000 people have become victims of the poison spread by American companies. Till date people are dying in Bhopal due to diseases. So, we are mourning those dead and taking out the candlelight procession to bring attention to our plight,” he said.
The participants also lit candles outside the Union Carbide factory where the rally culminated.
In 1984, Union Carbide accepted moral responsibility for the tragedy and established a 100 million dollar charitable trust fund to build a hospital for the victims. Union Carbide was later taken over by Dow Chemicals.
After a protracted legal battle, Union Carbide paid 470 million dollars to the Indian Government as settlement in 1989. The victims, on an average, received 25,000 rupees in case of illness and 100,000 rupees in case of a death in the family.
Union Carbide India Ltd. began the cleanup work at the site after the incident, spending some two million dollars.