RELAY HUNGER STRIKE FOR JUSTICE IN BHOPAL:
Keep it Alive. Keep it Growing.
Hold Dow Liable
Following the hunger strike by two gas survivors and one activist outside the Indian parliament in New Delhi in protest at the Indian governments proposal to dilute criminal charges outstanding for 11 years against former Carbide CEO Warren Anderson, concerned and outraged people all around the world are joining a mass hunger strike. The mass action is led by Diane Wilson, a shrimp boat captain, who is fasting outside the gates of Dow (formerly Carbide) in Sea Drift, Texas, USA. Thousands around the world are expected to join her. Hunger strikers to date have included French author Dominique Lapierre, Spanish writer Javier Moro and Gianfranco Bettin, Mayor of Venice, Italy.
What you can do: Join the protest, join the fast. Go to www.bhopal.net/worldwide-action/index.html , where you can register the days that you will fast. Visit www.corpwatchindia.org to send an electronic fax of protest to the Indian government. Check these websites for the latest news and for other ways to help.
day-long or longer fast. This is a powerful way of saying you care for
the survivors of the Bhopal disaster and support them in their demands for
justice. You can fast wherever you are, doing whatever you usually do for
a living or with your life. In India, the hunger strike (Un Shun in Hindi,
Patni Porattam in
Tamil) is a well-known and much used form of satyagraha (Satya Truth; Agraha: Insistence) or Insisting on the Truth.
were talking about in the context of Bhopal are:
1. There is compelling evidence that Warren Anderson and senior executives of Union Carbide Corporation knew and approved the cuts in safety systems at the factory in Bhopal. The factory in Bhopal was far inferior in terms of safety, alarm and disaster management systems than Union Carbides own factory in the US. This is one of the primary causes for the magnitude of the disaster. Anderson and his men have never yet appeared in court to face questioning about decisions that led to the deaths of more than 20,000 people.
2. Carbides pending liabilities in Bhopal belong to the Dow Chemical Company, Carbides new owner. Dow knew about Carbides pending liabilities in Bhopal before purchasing the company. Dow inherited Carbides assets: plants, products, people (many of whom are still in the same jobs in the same offices), markets and profits. Dow also accepted liability for several Carbide cases in the USA, so why not in India?
3. The survivors in Bhopal have been re-victimised by the Government of Indias reluctance to part with their compensation money, rehabilitate them or have those accused of causing the disaster brought to justice. In these grave violations of the rights of the survivors, the US Government has played an important role in
obstructing justice and shielding the companies and people Union Carbide, Dow Chemical, Warren Anderson -- that ought to be held criminally liable for the disaster.
The Relay Hunger Strike allows people, just common people, not NGOs or activists alone, to take action for what they feel is right. The strength of the act of large numbers of people undertaking the satyagraha by simultaneously fasting in solidarity with the survivors of Bhopal ensures that these truths are kept alive in the media, in peoples minds.
If you believe
in the truths above, heres what you can do to help ensure justice in
1. Register to join the hunger strike by logging onto www.bhopal.net. Decide the day(s) on which youll go on hunger strike. You can do it for a day, two days or longer. If you decide to do it longer, please consult your doctor/physician ensure that you are medically ok to fast, that you have EASY access to a doctor and hospital, and that you will be able to constantly monitor your health. DO NOT FAST if there is any danger or threat to your health.
2. Notify us about your intent with the following details.
Telephone number (if going on a fast of longer than 2 days)
Date(s) on which you plan to be on hunger strike
Optionally please also tell us a little about yourself (What do you do, your age, what makes you feel so
strongly about Bhopal)
3. Start your fast carefully.
On the day(s) of the hunger strike, you can start the day by drinking a glass of lime juice (no sugar) with three to four teaspoons of honey. End the day with a similar glass of lime juice. PLEASE DRINK sufficient quantities of water through the day, and electrolytes sometime in between.
4. Tell your friends, family, co-workers that you are on a hunger strike, and tell them why youre doing it. You can download information about the Bhopal campaign for justice from www.corpwatchindia.org or www.bhopal.net and circulate it to your friends. Ask them to join the campaign for justice in Bhopal by going on a fast for a day or longer.
5. Print support materials. If youre planning to go on a fast at a public place along with other people in your community, you may want to download and use the posters,information sheets and petition forms prepared by the UK Campaign for Justice in Bhopal from www.bhopal.net/campaigningresources/index.html
6. Notify the local media about your action and your reasons for doing this. You can put out a basic press statement to the media, accompanied by downloaded materials (see point 5 above).
7. Keep track of the people in your town who go on a fast. Please keep us informed about each person joining the hunger strike, by providing us with the details requested in item 2 above. You can bring these people together after a week or 10 days for a meeting at a convenient time. Arrange for all these people to do
something collectively hold a press conference or a candle-light vigil for
justice, or a simple protest activity with posters and placards outside the Indian
embassy or the US embassy or your local Dow/Union Carbide facility.
8. Most importantly send a letter to the Indian Government, and to CEO Michael Parker, Dow Chemical Company, Midland, Michigan, USA. The easiest method is to send this letter by fax to the Indian embassy in Washington D.C. by visiting the Take Action section (Top Right Hand corner) of www.corpwatchindia.org. All faxes will be conveyed by the Embassy to the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. It would help if you actually included a personalized note in the form letter on the website indicating that you are a hunger striker and your reasons for going on hunger strike.
By doing these things you'll send a clear message to the Government of India, the Government of the United States of America and to the Dow Chemical Company:
WE WILL NEVER LET YOU BURY JUSTICE IN BHOPAL
update from the Delhi hunger-strike, victory and 40 days in the wilderness:
At a mass rally in Delhi on Tuesday 16th July, the 18th day of fasting, the two women hunger strikers Tara Bai and Rashida Bi collapsed and are being cared for in hospital. Sathyu Sarangi continued to fast. The government conceded the strikers second demand - gas victims money will not be distributed to non gas-affected wards. On 17th July, the Bhopal court accepted our petition opposing the dilution of charges. The judge adjourned the case until 27th August. Sathyu then ended his fast with some orange juice. The fast was immediately taken up around the world by volunteers in a mass relay hunger strike to keep pressure on the Indian government.