Kamalnath: collaboration with Dow exposes him as a Mir Zafar, say Bhopal survivors

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

June 3, 2008
Press Statement
Commerce and Industries Minister Kamalnath genuflects before Dow CEO Andrew Liveris, part of a backdrop for the inaugural Mir Zafar Awards last year
Leaders of two organizations of Bhopal survivors today announced the launching of a public awareness campaign in the state to expose central Commerce and Industries Minister Kamalnath’s role in helping Dow Chemical and Union Carbide escape their liabilities in Bhopal. They said that the Minister approved the sale of Union Carbide’s Unipol technology to Reliance Industries in 2006 knowing fully well that it was approving the sale of intellectual property of an absconding criminal. They pointed out that in March 1992 the Bhopal District Court directed the government to confiscate all property belonging to Union Carbide in India.
The leaders of the organization said that they will visit the Minister’s constituency in Chhindwara and expose him as a modern Mir Zafar. They said just as Mir Zafar, the army chief of Bengal, sold himself to the East India Company in 1757, Kamalnath was selling himself to American corporations that have killed more than 23 thousand people of his state. “By helping Union Carbide’s business in India Kamalnath is helping Union Carbide abscond from Indian courts. He has joined hands with the killer of Bhopal.” said Rashida Bee President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh.
The organizations said that on June 28, 2007, Mr. Kamalnath addressed a press conference at Washington, D.C. defending Dow Chemical. “Dow, by integration, inherited Union Carbide. Dow themselves had no status in this, so Dow’s investment is not affected by that,” he is reported to have said.
Presenting a copy of a briefing note unearthed under RTI from the PMO the organizations charged Kamalnath with presenting an opinion before the US media that was contrary to the opinion of the Indian government. According to the note dated 7 February, 2008, the Law Ministry has opined that “Irrespective of the manner in which [Union Carbide] has merged or been acquired by Dow Chemicals, if there is any legal liability, it would have to be borne by Dow Chemicals.” The note further asserts that “it cannot also be said that the investment proposed to be made by the Dow Chemicals will be immune from the orders of the court”.
The leaders of the organizations who had a meeting with the Group of Ministers on Bhopal on April 17 said that in that meeting in the presence of other Ministers and senior bureaucrats, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan had said that the Unipol approval was given despite his Ministries opposition.
Syed M Irfan, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha Bhopal said that Kamalnath has long been trying to impede the course of law by shielding Dow Chemical from inheriting any of Carbide’s liabilities. They presented a document obtained from the PMO under the RTI Act that shows that on 7 February 2007, Kamalnath wrote to the Prime Minister stating “. . .with a view to sending an appropriate signal to Dow Chemicals, which is exploring investing substantially in India and to the American business community, I would urge that a group. . . be formed to look at this matter in a holistic manner, in a similar manner as was done with respect to the Enron Corporation with respect to Dabhol Power Corporation.” Enron disappeared without paying its dues to the Maharashtra Government and many Indian lenders.
The organizations said that despite Mir Zafars like Kamalnath they will make Dow Chemical pay not only for clean-up of contaminated soil and groundwater, but also for damage to health of people consuming the contaminated water.
Rashida Bee, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh

Syed M Irfan
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha

Rachna Dhingra, Satinath Sarangi
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

Rashida Bee: 9425688215

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