Justice in Bhopal
Bhopal Survivors Renew Fight for
Survivors organisations in Bhopal today launched the Campaign for Justice in Bhopal directed to hold The Dow Chemical Company accountable for the Union Carbide disaster in this city in December 1984. Leaders of the organisations who returned last week after meeting the Country Director of Dow Chemical International Private Ltd. in Mumbai, outlined the future course of action to be taken nationally and internationally to secure justice in Bhopal.
Survivors' organisations in Bhopal and their supporters have been demanding that following its merger with Union Carbide Corporation, USA, The Dow Chemical Company must accept the criminal and environmental liabilities of Bhopal. "After merging with Union Carbide, Dow now has the blood of the people of Bhopal on its hands. On February 28th, 300 of us stormed Dows Mumbai office and told them so," said Rashida Bi, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh a trade union of women survivors. "The management was so scared by this small action they felt the need to have a police officer armed with a gun sitting next to Dow's Country Director during our discussion," said a smiling Rashida.
Balkrishna Namdeo, Convenor, Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal said that they were very frustrated with their meeting with Ravi Muthukrishnan, Dows Country Director in India. "He was actually very nice on a personal level. He said he was well aware of the continuing death and suffering in Bhopal and expressed his sympathies. But when it came to discussing our demands, he was like a heartless automaton repeating its masters words," said Namdeo. "More than seven times he repeated the lie that Union Carbide had no pending criminal liabilities and refused even to take a look at the legal, medical and scientific information that point to the culpability of Carbide and now Dow," added Namdeo.
The "Campaign for Justice in Bhopal", said Abdul Jabbar, Convenor Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, "is now being formed nationally and internationally. Trade unions, students organisations, womens groups and human rights networks in Bombay, Delhi, Bangalore and other cities have already expressed strong support to the struggle to nail the culprits of the disaster in Bhopal." Jabbar stressed that "the fight to make Dow accountable for Carbides crimes in Bhopal will be very much a part of the movement against globalisation in this country."
Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action an activist group working to support Bhopal survivors was confident that the Ban Dursban in India campaign soon to be initiated by the Campaign for Justice in Bhopal will immediately gain popularity. "Here is a brain damaging chemical, invented by the Nazis, that Dow is selling as a household insecticide. Because of its serious health impacts Dow have had to withdraw it from the U.S market last year, yet in India it is their leading brand," he said. He accused Dow of following a racist policy of blatant double standards in matters of human health and safety. "The disaster in Bhopal occurred because of Union Carbides double standards. The people of India will not allow slow and silent Bhopals in their households because of Dows double standards on the production and sale of Dursban," he added.
1. House No. 12, Gali No. 2, Near Naseer Masjid, Bag Umrao Dulha, Bhopal. Tel: 759364
2. A 547, Housing Board Colony, Aishbag, Bhopal. Tel: 757619
3. 51, Rajendra Nagar, Bhopal. Tel: 242727
4. B-2 / 302, Sheetal Nagar, Berasia Road, Bhopal.