ONLY EIGHT DAYS LEFT FOR THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT TO WRITE TO THE US COURT IN THE BHOPAL CLEANUP CASE: LAW MINISTRY MOVES THE CASE TO THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND FORESTS
New Delhi, June 21, 2004: On the 4th day of the hunger strike by three Bhopal activists at Jantar Mantar, and with just eight more days to go, the Indian government still had not sent its letter of receptivity for the Bhopal clean up to the concerned US Court. However, the Ministry of Law took a turnaround from the earlier stand it took on June 16th when a delegation met the Minister Mr Bharadwaj this morning. He agreed that the present case of contamination and remediation is distinctly different from the gas leak disaster case and clearly a case of environmental contamination. The Minister also directed the Bhopal activists and their supporters towards the Ministry of Environment and Forests as the concerned Ministry in this case.
In the evening, based on the Law Ministry’s latest views on the issue, the Minister of Environment and Forests Mr A Raja was met by the same delegation, which appraised him about the urgency of the situation given that time was running out for the US Court deadline, and given that the Hunger Strike had already entered its fourth day today. Mr Raja assured the delegation that since this was an important issue, the Ministry would do the needful and would meet the June 30th deadline. Meanwhile, for the three activists who have been on the hunger strike, this 5-delay by the fallacious arguments of the Law Ministry could prove dear. Doctors attending on them have reported further deterioration with ketone bodies detected in the urine samples. “It was callous of the Law Ministry to have delayed this issue for so long on wrongful grounds. At least now, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has to act immediately. Otherwise, it could prove to be very costly for the communities contaminated by Union Carbide”, said Mr Satinath Sarangi, Member, Bhopal Group for Information and Action who has been fasting since June 18th.
Reliable sources have informed us that over the weekend, high level consultations took place with the Prime Minister intervening in the matter. Senior Congress Ministers like Kapil Sibal and Oscar Fernandes have also taken up the issue with the concerned people.
Support continues to pour in for the activists on hunger strike and for the cause of clean up of the contamination in Bhopal. Ms Nandita Das, Actress, visited the activists at Jantar Mantar today. Yesterday evening, the hunger strikers were met by Swami Agnivesh, who extended his solidarity to them. Thousands of petitions urging the Indian government to act swiftly continue to pour
in, many emerging from the US. More than 200 supporters from across the world have also gone on a relay hunger strike to express their solidarity. Long time supporter Diane Wilson and members of the Association for India’s Development will start their hunger strike in front of the Indian embassy in Washington DC soon.
For more information on the campaign, and to join the petition campaign, please visit:
You can also contact the following persons/numbers for more information:
Ms Rasheeda Bi, Mr Shahid Noor and Mr Satinath Sarangi – the hungerstrikers on the following mobile numbers:
+91-98-102-02105 or +91-755-3132298
Ms Vinuta Gopal on +91-98-455-35418 or Ms Kavitha Kuruganti on +91-80-36882103 or Ms Anuradha Saibaba on + 91-98-119 -03172
You can send an email to the following addresses:
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
 On March 17th 2004, a New York District Court had ruled that if the Indian government or Madhya Pradesh government urges the US Court to order such a relief before June 30th 2004, then it can order Union Carbide to clean up the abandoned factory site and its surroundings.
 [DOC1]. Hungerstrikers’ medical records.