Gas victims vow not to return to Bhopal until demands met

Published: Tuesday, 28 March, 2006, 10:50 AM Doha Time
NEW DELHI: Hundreds of victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy staged protests here yesterday and demanded that a national commission be set up to solve their problems.
“We have a six-point charter of demand and we will not return to Bhopal till the prime minister assures us that it will be fulfilled,” said Champa Devi Shukla, one of the victims of the tragedy.
“One of the most important demands is the setting up of a national commission for the thousands of victims,” she added.
The victims of the 1984 gas leak disaster at a Union Carbide plant started their 800km march from Bhopal to the Indian capital on February 20, reaching here on Saturday.
“The national commission should comprise victims, academics, doctors, engineers, environmentalists and authorities of the central and the state governments. The whole idea is to have a dedicated cell for the survivors of the tragedy,” Shukla said.
Yesterday, the survivors of the worst industrial tragedy that claimed an estimated 20,000 lives and maimed thousands were joined by several non-government organisations, green activists, trade unions and students of the Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Shouting slogans like ‘No More Bhopal’, ‘Dow Chemicals clean up Bhopal’, ‘We need Justice’, the protesters marched from Nizamuddin to Jantar Mantar in the heart of New Delhi. “It’s been 21 years and we are still waiting for clean water, for dignity. The prime minister must listen to our demands,” said Rashida Bi, another survivor.
They also demanded that Dow Chemicals be blacklisted in India.
“We want that Dow should own up. They must clean up the area. People are still drinking poisoned water,” said Satinath Sarangi, a member of the Group for Information and Action.- Agencies

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