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Days of Action

What are we doing? We’re taking action, targeting both Dow and the Indian Government and demanding justice for the victims of Bhopal.

..........1500 Students Protest at Indian Consulates Nationwide!
..........No Objection to a Cleanup
..........Contamination 'Returned to Sender'
..........Mass Student Movement Builds Against Dow
..........Bhopal Reenacted on US City Streets
..........2005 Global Day of Action
..........Dow Facilities Protested Nationwide
..........1000 Students Tell JP Morgan to 'Stand Up' for Bhopal
..........Halloween: Dow is Death - 2003
..........Halloween: Dow is Death - 2005
..........Board Members Served with Summons for Carbide
..........Demanding Compensation from the Government of India
..........Bhopal Advocates Protest Against Tata
..........Calling For Clean Water
..........Students Demand Trial for Dow
..........Driving Dow's Chairman Out of Town

..........Student Campaign Media

 

1500 Students Protest at Indian Consulates Nationwide!
(click here for the press release, or here for photos: New York, Washington DC, Houston!)

More than 1500 students descended on Indian Consulates and Government offices nationwide yesterday, April 15, 2005, to demand action and justice for Bhopal. The protests, organized by Amnesty International Group 133 (Somerville, Massachusetts), the Association for India's Development, and Students for Bhopal, made four key demands of the Indian Government:

..........• Enforce the clean-up of the contaminated Bhopal site by the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC)/Dow Chemical Company;
..........• Ensure that Dow/UCC provide full compensation for the damage done to health and the environment by the ongoing contamination of the site;
..........• Supply clean, safe water for the affected communities; and
..........• Provide free healthcare for everyone affected by the disaster, including the children born of parents affected by the gas leak.

The flagship demonstration, organized by Amnesty International Group 133, brought 1500 students to the Indian Consulate in New York as a part of their 10th-annual "Get on the Bus" protest. Satellite protests were also held in Washington, DC; Houston; and Chicago (April 20th); while other satellite actions targeted the Indian Government in San Francisco; Delhi; and Chennai, India.

New York
More than 1500 high school and college students from 10 states throughout the Northeast converged on New York to protest for Bhopal, Tibetan human rights and gay rights in Jamaica. As part of the "Get on the Bus" protest, the students watched the film “20 Years Without Justice" on the buses and part of the BBC film, “One Night in Bhopal”, once they arrived in New York.

Following speeches from activists involved in the struggle for human rights in Tibet and Jamaica, Gary Cohen spoke to the students about Bhopal, telling the story of the disaster and describing their struggle against chemical trespass and chemical terror. In a powerful moment, the students stood up en masse and put their hands over their hearts to declare their belief that children have a right to be born free of chemical poisons, and that their mothers have a fundamental right to breastfeed without passing on these poisons to their newborns.

Then the students marched to the Indian Consulate where they remained for over an hour chanting "Bring Dow to Justice", "22,000 Dead; When Will it End?", and making up their own songs for justice. Their chants reverberated down 5th Avenue and could be heard clearly through the thick stone walls of the Indian Consulate, where several Amnesty representatives, Bhopal campaigners, and students met with the Deputy Consul General, Mr. Ashok Tomar. Amid the roar of the protest, Amnesty International delivered a letter describing the violation of the Bhopalis' human rights and asking the Indian Government to take action and comply with the recommendations made in Amnesty International's recent report on the Bhopal disaster, Clouds of Injustice. Following the meeting Mr. Tomar promised to transmit our concerns to the Indian Government.

Washington, DC
On April 15th, 2005, eight members of the Association for India's Development-College Park and other Bhopal supporters gathered in front of the Indian Embassy in Washington DC to protest, shout slogans, and deliver a letter to the Indian Government demanding justice for the Bhopal victims. The protest was a satellite action carried out in solidarity with the massive "Get on the Bus" protest in New York City. Following the hour-long protest, the Bhopal supporters delivered a copy of the Amnesty letter to Mr. AK Gupta, the Community Minister at Indian Consulate. "Mr. Gupta looks angry in the photo, and was apparently upset with our slogan shouting for Bhopal."

Houston
"Two people from AID-Houston went to the Indian consulate this morning. We requested an audience with the Consul General, Mr. Tayal, but were denied since we didn't have an appointment. His Personal Assistant talked to us for a while and we enumerated the demands of the Bhopal campaign, particularly the need to decontaminate the site and provide clean drinking water, and handed him a modified version of the GOTB letter, which he promised to relay to the Indian government. He was a little disconcerted when we told him that we planned to protest outside the consulate, and he went in for a consultation with the CG and came back to tell us we couldn't protest on the premises and hung around to make sure we left. We handed him a copy of the flyer we were going to hand out and left. However we encourage all the members of Amnesty International and AID chapters within the jurisdiction of this consulate to call in over the next few days (713-626-3153) so that this protest will gather strength. Their jurisdiction is the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, Mississipi, Oklahoma and Texas."

Chicago
On April 20th, 2005, three members of Amnesty International and two members of the South Asian Progressive Action Collective met with the Consul General, Mr. Arun Kumar, and the Deputy Consul General, Mr. Jagdish Rai. In a meeting that lasted half an hour, they discussed what the Indian Government needs to do in Bhopal to comply with their human rights obligations to the people of Bhopal.

San Francisco
The AID-Bay Area chapter organized a mass call-in day to the Indian consulate to raise the demands in the Amnesty letter and pressure the Indian government. More than 100 people placed calls to the consulate, from AID chapters and other organizations throughout the Western US.

Delhi, India
In Delhi, students and members from Jawaharlal Nehru University, We For Bhopal and AID Delhi organized a fax action which briefly deluged the Prime Minister's office with demands that they comply with Amnesty International's recommendations and take action for Bhopal.

Chennai, India
On the afternoon of April 16th, 2005, several members of We Feel Responsible, a progressive action collective in Chennai and member organization of Students for Bhopal, hit the beach and collected signatures from evening joggers and walkers demanding justice for Bhopal and an end to the Indian Oil Corporation's proposed deal with Dow Chemical. The signed petitions were faxed to the Prime Minister, and the event kick-started a campaign against the proposed Dow-IOC deal.

..........• Coverage in Rediff
..........• Coverage in Central Chronicle

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No Objection to a Cleanup
(click here for the press release!)

NATIONWIDE PROTESTS DEMAND THAT THE INDIAN GOV'T SAY "YES" TO A CLEANUP IN BHOPAL

Today, June 15th, 2004, non-resident Indians, students and other supporters gathered outside the Indian embassy in Washington, DC, and the four Indian consulates around the nation to demand that the Indian Government allow Union Carbide to cleanup its abandoned factory site in Bhopal, if ordered by a US Court. Many of the protestors, organized by the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) and the Association for India’s Development (AID), also pledged to join a global relay hunger strike if the government continues to delay action.

The world’s worst industrial disaster devastated the Indian city of Bhopal in the state of Madhya Pradesh nearly 20 years ago, in 1984. Nearly 500,000 people were exposed to the deadly gases released from the Union Carbide factory there; of those, 20,000 have died thus far and a further 120,000 have suffered lifelong and debilitating illnesses. Toxic wastes abandoned by Union Carbide remain strewn in and around the factory site, and continue to poison the people of Bhopal still today. These wastes have contaminated the groundwater serving more than 20,000 people and will spread further, if left unchecked.

In a landmark ruling March 17, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, USA, ruled (Sajida Bano et al v. Union Carbide Corporation and Warren Anderson) that Union Carbide can be ordered by the District Court to clean up its abandoned factory site, but only if the Indian government or the State of Madhya Pradesh seeks to intervene in this action or otherwise urges the Court to order such relief. The New York District Court, which is currently hearing the case, has given the Government of India until June 30, 2004, to submit a letter stating that it has no objection to a cleanup by Union Carbide, if ordered by the court. The final decision rests with Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, the Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

”We urge Mr. Paswan to make this his top priority, as action is extremely urgent,” said Nishant Jain, a member of AID-Austin and one of the protestors. “The cleanup of the site and the ground water will cost $500-$700 million dollars and should be paid by the polluter, not by Indian taxpayers. This will also set a powerful precedent in the chemical industry that a multinational company shall be liable for its misdeeds elsewhere.”

A week-long petition drive spearheaded by ICJB has already sent hundreds of emails, faxes and phone calls to the Indian Consulate in New York and to Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan to indicate the global support and extreme urgency of the matter. In New Delhi, several Bhopal gas survivors and supporters have pledged to begin an indefinite hunger strike without water if a positive decision from the Indian Government is not forthcoming by the 17th of June. They will be supported by hundreds of supporters from around the globe in the form of a relay hunger strike; nearly one hundred have already registered to join the strike online at www.petitiononline.com/June30/. Today’s protests took place in Washington, DC; New York; San Francisco; Houston; and Chicago.

”So far the campaign has been encouraged by the positive signs from the government, and we hope that a hunger strike will not be necessary for a cause that should make sense to the government anyway,” said Ryan Bodanyi, an organizer with the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal. “There is no conceivable reason why the Indian government would wish to delay action. This is a simple request from the court, and the people of Bhopal have suffered from this contamination for 20 years. They’ve waited long enough for justice.”

###

Updates...

In Chicago, a group of 5 of us went to the Indian Consulate office. They were on lunch break from 12:30-3:30 p.m. and the Indian Consul, Arun Kumar, was on lunch and his secretary, Hemal, did not know when he would be back. Maneesha did a fine job of talking to her about the injustice in Bhopal and asked her if she was aware of the problem. Hemal said she knew what was going on and about two months ago the Consulate's office was receiving 30-40 e-mails a day about it. Hemal said she would pass on our letter and they will e-mail me to let me know Mr. Kumar has received the letter. Nehal, another person who went with us, is going to go back and see if Mr. Kumar got the letter and see if we can set up a meeting with him to talk about Bhopal. That's it for now...

In New York, a couple of members of the AID Princeton Chapter went to the Indian consulate and distributed leaflets to many who entered the building. The leaflet contained information on our request to the Indian government to support any US court decision to direct UCC to clean up in Bhopal. We also displayed two posters saying 'No More Bhopals, Dow Clean up Bhopal Now.' Ryan joined us at the consulate. We met the deputy consul, Mr. Ashok Tomar and gave him a letter that contained the same request and was signed by about forty people from Princeton. The letter was addressed to the Prime Minister, care of Mr. Tomar. Mr. Ashok Tomar said that he was aware of the details of the NY case and that these details had been communicated to the Indian government. He accepted the letter and promised to help out with this issue.

In Houston, three of us from the AID Houston chapter went to the consulate general's office with the letter signed by 40 people from across Texas. We were not able to talk to the Consul General who was busy but we talked to some extent to his secretary, his personal assistant and one of his deputies. He has received earlier emails sent by us and is aware of the matter. We are now trying to schedule an appointment for later this week so that we can talk in some detail.

In Washington DC around 11:30 am, about 10 people from AID gathered in front of the Indian Embassy. We got all set up around noon. In the meantime security officers of the Indian Embassy were doing their job, trying to inquire where were from. We held posters saying "Remember Bhopal" and No more Bhopal. The security guard was pretty nice and said that whenever we wanted to meet with the officials in the embassy to let him know.

Around 1:00 pm we meet with Mr. A.K. Gupta who is the Minister of Community Affairs. I asked him on Indian Government's inaction towards issuing the letter to New York District. He was not at all aware of this issue or maybe he was confused and he started to talk about Anderson's extradition progress. He also told us that he was aware of Dow being included as one of the accused in the ongoing criminal case and that he has gotten communication from Bombay on the issue.

I gave him a little background on the current situation and he said that he will definitely convey our message to Indian Government. We also submitted the list of 1900 petitions that people have signed on and also made him aware of the 2300 petitions that have been signed and 250 people who have joined the hunger strike.

Towards the end of the conversation he urged all of us to end our fast and leave the embassy premises since he will be taking this issue with the authorities in India.

We decided to stay there for another hour or so and then we ended the protest. Divya came all the way down from John Hopkins University and Somnath came down from Princeton. It was great to see AID's enthusiasm and passion for Bhopal. We collected around 40 signatures for the petitions.

In Houston on June 21st, in the company of the indominable Diane, about 7 gathered in the Houston consulate at about 11am yesterday (21st). It was Diane's fourth day of fast, but as usual she had double the energy and enthusiasm than the rest of us combined. Two of us drove from Austin - Madhulika and I, and the rest were from AID Houston - Sherebanu, Pranav, Sriram and of course Kinnu. Five of us had chosen to fast for the day.

AID Houston folks were unable to secure an appointment with the consulate general inspite of trying for two days. We went to the reception area and waited until we met someone. Looked like everyone knew about Bhopal and recognized the Houston folks. After a few minuted, they allowed one person to meet the Personal assistance of the general - Mr. Ahuja. I met him for 10 minutes. Submitted the latest memo with the additional signatures on the petition and relay strike. He knew about the issue and assured me that the general knew about the issue. I told him about our fast and he seemed impressed enough to shake my hand and claim - 'it is a just cause, I will do whatever i can..'

We then stood in the corridor and passed about 25 petition letters, including to some of the consulate workers. We collected two signatures and made sure everyone in the consulate knew about the issue. The consulate closed at about 12.30pm.

Diane will return to the embassy accompanied by AID Houston members, everyday and stand outside to distribute fliers until the letter is issued. Today (22), there were about 3-4 people who distributed more fliers and got a few more signatures. Just the presence of Diane will make sure of that the general does everything in his power!

More press in the Indian Express (New Delhi) and Daily News (Pakistan).

Victory!!! The Hindu covers the story twice, and also publishes this excellent opinion piece about the campaign.

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Contamination 'Returned to Sender'
(click here for the press release, or here for photos: Brown, Bay Area, Dallas, Atlanta, College Park, Michigan, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Princeton, and Sewanee!)

DOW FACES FIRST NATIONWIDE STUDENT PROTESTS SINCE VIETNAM ON ANNIVERSARY OF BHOPAL DISASTER

Students from 26 colleges, universities and high schools organized nationwide protests against Dow Chemical yesterday, Dec. 3rd, 2003, as a part of the first-annual Global Day of Action Against Corporate Crime. Dow Chemical, which was key manufacturer of chemical warfare agents Napalm and Agent Orange, faced such widespread protests for the first time since the Vietnam War due to its February 2001 acquisition of Union Carbide -- the perpetrator of the Bhopal disaster. The protests, organized by Students for Bhopal, Association for India's Development (AID) chapters, and the Environmental Justice Program of the Sierra Student Coalition (SSC), called on Dow to accept its moral and legal responsibility for the world's worst industrial disaster.

On December 3rd, 1984, a toxic cloud of gas from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, enveloped the surrounding city, leaving thousands dead. More than 20,000 have died till date and more than 120,000 people still suffer from severe health problems as a result of their exposure. Chemicals and heavy metals that Union Carbide abandoned at the site-including mercury, trichloroethene, chloroform, and lead-have contaminated the water supply for 20,000 Bhopal residents. Despite acquiring Union Carbide, Dow Chemical has refused to address Carbide's pending liabilities in Bhopal, that include medical and economic rehabilitation of victims, clean up of toxic wastes and contaminated groundwater, and provision of safe drinking water. Union Carbide is a proclaimed fugitive from justice for its failure to appear in Indian courts to face trial for manslaughter.

Students across the country delivered samples of contaminated water from Bhopal to the homes of eleven of Dow's fourteen Board members, including the CEO, William Stavropoulos. Although many of the deliveries were either refused or ignored, Dr. Harold T. Shapiro, the President Emeritus of Princeton University and an 18-year member of Dow Chemical's Board of Directors, accepted a sample of the contaminated water following an open talk to the Princeton community on bioethics. Dr. Shapiro also accepted the testimonial of a Bhopal victim.

"The contamination that Dow-Carbide left behind in Bhopal is their responsibility, and it belongs in their hands," said Sujata Ray, a member of the Princeton AID chapter that presented the water. "We're pleased that Dr. Shapiro, when faced with the consequences of his company's inaction in Bhopal, accepted a sample of the contamination on behalf of Dow-Carbide. Unfortunately the behavior of the other Board members typifies that of Dow-Carbide, which continues to deny and evade their legal and moral responsibilities in Bhopal."

"Clearly, the water contamination in Bhopal is an issue that needs to be brought 'home' to Dow-Carbide," declared Jaimini Parekh, an SSC member who organized a "return-to-sender" action against Board member Jackie Barton. "Dow-Carbide has seemed content to condemn the survivors of Bhopal to wallow in the contamination that it left behind. The fact that Dow-Carbide has not acted to stop the ongoing contamination of tens of thousands-for which it is responsible-is inhumane, unjust, and immoral."

Several rallies were held outside of Dow-Carbide offices and facilities, including those in Dallas, Texas and Smithfield, Rhode Island. As during the Vietnam War, students also protested against college affiliations with Dow-Carbide, including recruitment, investment, and financial contributions.

"Students are outraged," said Ryan Bodanyi, an organizer with Students for Bhopal. "They don't want their colleges and universities accepting money from a corporation that maintains its profit margins by poisoning people and blithely standing aside as they die. Dow-Carbide's callous disregard for the value of human life hasn't changed much since the Vietnam War, and students aren't going to be any more forgiving now than they were then. Dow-Carbide should expect these protests to continue and intensify."

"We're not going to allow Dow-Carbide to get away with murder," declared Nishant Jain, one of the leaders of AID's Austin chapter. "Enron's crimes may have cost people their retirement portfolios, but Dow-Carbide's crimes in Bhopal have cost tens of thousands of people their health and their lives. People are fed up with corporate violations of our labor, environmental, and human rights, which is why so many people have united to take action on the anniversary of Bhopal, a particularly heinous corporate crime."

Thousands of people from sixteen countries participated in the Global Day of Action in solidarity against Dow-Carbide and other corporate criminals. Events and actions took place in 16 cities across India, including Bhopal, as well as in the Netherlands, UK, USA, Lebanon, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Denmark, Switzerland, Spain, Bangladesh, Canada, and Italy.

Students participated at: Brown University, CalTech, University of California (Berkeley), University of Chicago, Flintridge Preparatory School (Sierra Madre, CA), Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, Highland Park High School (Dallas, TX), University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Johns Hopkins University, Lake Forest College, Loyola University, University of Maryland (College Park), University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, MIT, Penn State (University Park), Portland State University, Princeton, Occidental College, Reed College, Rhode Island School of Design, Sewanee College, University of Texas (Austin), Wheaton College

Students delivered samples of Bhopal's contaminated water to Dow Board members Arnold Allemang (Midland, MI), Jackie Barton (San Marino, CA), Anthony Carbone (Midland, MI), Willie Davis (Playa Del Rey, CA), Barbara Franklin (Washington, DC), Keith McKennon (Portland, OR), J. Pedro Reinhard (Midland, MI), James Ringler (Lake Forest, IL), Harold Shapiro (Princeton, NJ), William Stavropoulos (Midland, MI), and Paul Stern (Potomac, MD).

Students for Bhopal, the student arm of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB), is a national coalition of student groups dedicated to raising awareness about the disaster, advocating for the people of Bhopal, and increasing the pressure against Dow-Carbide to accept its moral and legal responsibilities in Bhopal. More information is available at www.studentsforbhopal.org and www.bhopal.net.

The Association for India's Development (AID) is a voluntary non-profit organization committed to promoting sustainable, equitable and just development in India, by working with grassroots organizations and movements in India. More information is available at http://bhopal.aidindia.org.

The Environmental Justice Program (EJP) of the Sierra Student Coalition (the student-run arm of the Sierra Club) is a national community of youth working for environmental justice. The EJP is devoted to advancing the principles of environmental justice in our society, and believes that all human beings deserve a healthy, sustainable, livable, and beautiful environment that provides security for our families and communities. More information is available at www.ssc.org/subdomains/departments/ej.

###

..........• Coverage in Commondreams
..........• Coverage in Corpwatch
..........• Coverage in OneWorld
..........• Coverage in Janmanch
..........• Coverage in Beyond Pesticides
..........• Coverage in Asheville Global Report
..........• Coverage in Lansing City Pulse

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Mass Student Movement Builds Against Dow
(click here for the complete summaries of all events; here for the press release!)

STUDENTS AT 70 COLLEGES ON FIVE CONTINENTS DEMAND JUSTICE FOR BHOPAL

Students from more than 70 colleges, universities, and high schools worldwide have organized events this week to mark the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, and to demand that Dow Chemical resolve its legal and moral responsibilities for the “Hiroshima of the chemical industry”. The events, organized by Students for Bhopal, Association for India’s Development (AID) chapters, the Campus Greens and the Environmental Justice Program of the Sierra Student Coalition (SSC), represent the first mass student movement Dow has faced since its production of Agent Orange and Napalm during the Vietnam War.

On December 3rd, 1984, thousands of people in Bhopal, India, were gassed to death after a catastrophic chemical leak at a Union Carbide pesticide plant. More than 150,000 people were left severely disabled—of whom 20,000 have since died of their injuries­—in a disaster now widely acknowledged as the world’s worst-ever industrial disaster. None of the six safety systems at the plant were functional, and Union Carbide’s own documents prove the company cut corners on safety and maintenance in order to save money. Today, twenty years after the Bhopal disaster, those who survived the gas remain sick, and the chemicals that Union Carbide left behind in Bhopal have poisoned the water supply and contributed to an epidemic of cancers, birth defects, and other afflictions. Since its purchase of Carbide in 2001, Dow-Carbide has refused to clean up the site, which continues to contaminate those near it; fund medical care or livelihood regeneration; or stand trial in Bhopal, where the Union Carbide Corporation faces criminal charges of culpable homicide (manslaughter), and has fled these charges for the past 12 years.

The events, which include several protests at Dow facilities, demonstrations, and educational events, stretch across five continents and on campuses throughout the United States. Examples include:

· University of Texas, Austin, where the members of AID-Austin have organized a three-day-long series of events. These include a day-long protest against University involvement with Dow, a hunger strike and candlelight vigil, and a film screening and open discussion about the disaster. Contact: Nishant Jain, AID-Austin (512)-422-7169

· St. Benedict’s Preparatory High School in Newark, New Jersey, where the members of the SBP Environmental Club are planning to reenact the Bhopal tragedy, complete with the Grim Reaper and foaming dry ice. The new documentary “Twenty Years Without Justice” will also be shown to their 650-student school, followed by a question and answer session. A copy of this film and the book “Trespass Against Us” will then be donated to their high school library. Contact: Daniel Saraiva, SBP Environmental Club (908)-247-8360

· Delhi University in India, where the members of the student group “We for Bhopal”, will release the report of its October 2004 Fact Finding Mission to Bhopal, for which students met with survivors, toured the factory grounds, and interviewed the Chief Minister of the state government and other officials. The students intend to deliver the report in person to the President and Prime Minister of India, following up on their meeting with the President in March. In addition, “We for Bhopal” is also organizing a massive candlelight vigil to mark the anniversary, and will be judging the results of its college essay competition. Contact: Suroopa Mukherjee, Professor, Hindu College (g_mukherjee_at_satyam.net.in)

As during the Vietnam War, students will also organize protests against college affiliations with Dow-Carbide, including recruitment, investment, and financial contributions.

“Students are outraged,” said Ryan Bodanyi, the National Coordinator for Students for Bhopal. “They don’t want their colleges and universities associated with a corporation that maintains its profit margins by poisoning people and blithely standing aside as they die. Dow-Carbide’s callous disregard for the value of human life hasn’t changed much since the Vietnam War, and students aren’t going to be any more forgiving now than they were then. Dow-Carbide should expect these protests to continue and intensify.”

“We’re not going to allow Dow-Carbide to get away with murder,” declared Nishant Jain, one of the leaders of AID’s Austin chapter. “Enron’s crimes may have cost people their retirement portfolios, but Dow-Carbide’s crimes in Bhopal have cost tens of thousands of people their health and their lives. Dow-Carbide seems content to condemn the survivors of Bhopal to wallow in the contamination it left behind. We believe the fact that Dow-Carbide has not acted to stop the ongoing contamination of tens of thousands—for which it is responsible—is inhumane, unjust, and immoral.”

A complete listing of all the events can be found at http://www.studentsforbhopal.org/GDA2004.htm. More information about the organizations can be found at www.studentsforbhopal.org, www.aidindia.org, www.campusgreens.org, and www.ssc.org.

###

..........• Coverage on Democracy Now!
..........• Coverage in Inter Press Service
..........• Coverage in Indymedia
..........• Coverage in Hindustan Times
..........• Coverage in India New England
..........• Coverage in India-West
..........• Coverage in Siliconeer
..........• Coverage in Midland Daily News
..........• Coverage in What Kids Can Do
..........• Coverage in Green Left Weekly
..........• Coverage in Online Democracy

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Bhopal Reenacted on US City Streets

Saturday, May 6th – Students for Bhopal members in 4 cities hosted events and re-enactments of the 1984 Union Carbide chemical disaster in Bhopal, India, at noon. In Seattle, Boston and Cincinnati, professionals and students lay under shrouds to raise awareness about Dow Chemical Company's role in the 22,000+ deaths in Bhopal; parallel education events were held in Portland, OR. The members of Students for Bhopal want Dow to take responsibility for the toxic clean up in Bhopal and face criminal charges.


At Copley Square in Boston

The names of those killed in the 1984 Disaster, and those who died as recently as 2004, were perched atop the veiled bodies, much the way unidentified bodies were numbered after the gas leak. In Boston, the Dow Grim Reaper passed among the victims symbolizing Dow Chemical's role in the ongoing poisoning of 20,000 Bhopal residents forced to drink contaminated water. Dry ice haze mimicked the methyl isocyanate gas that leaked from the Union Carbide plant 21 years ago after midnight, causing over 8,000 people to drown in their own fluids within days of the gas leak.

"I have family in Bhopal and feel that while I am in the US, it is my responsibility to use my privilege in the interests of justice for the victims," said Suvrat Raju, a Physics Ph.D candidate at Harvard at the Boston event.

Dow, which bought Union Carbide (UCC) in 2001, refuses to clean up the abandoned factory site and resulting heavy metal and pesticide-contaminated ground water. After Dow purchased Union Carbide, it put aside $2.2 billion dollars to deal with Union Carbide's asbestos liabilities, but refused to accept any responsibility for Carbide's Bhopal liabilities.

Dow's Annual General Shareholder Meeting will be held in Midland, Michigan at 10am Thursday, May 11th. A shareholder resolution on Bhopal asks Dow to report on any new initiatives to address concerns of Bhopal survivors.

"Members of the public present are outraged that Dow Chemical refuses to acknowledge its liabilities. They have pledged that they will not work for Dow or any of its subsidiaries until the company addresses its responsibilities in Bhopal," commented Seattle Coalition for Justice in Bhopal organizer Priya Raghav.

"Dow Chemical's behavior in Bhopal is symbolic of the behavior of much of the Chemical Industry. The industry has changed little since this tragedy – learned little from 22,000 deaths in Bhopal. We have poor chemical security laws here in the US, despite 110 facilities that could endanger more than a million people. We all live in Bhopal." said Aquene Freechild, posing as the Dow Chemical Grim Reaper in Boston.

On April 17th, American supporters of the Bhopal hunger strike claimed victory along with Bhopali fasters as the Indian Government conceded to survivor demands for clean drinking water, establishing national commission for medical and economic rehabilitation, and declaring December 3rd a National Day of mourning for the victims of the 1984 Disaster. The hunger strike followed a month-long 500-mile march from Bhopal to New Delhi. Over 400 international supporters pledged to fast for at least a day in solidarity with the Bhopal hunger strikers and bombarded the Prime Ministers office with over 2700 faxes.

While the Prime Minister agreed to demands to address the contamination and to provide water to the community, he did not agree to exclude Dow Chemical from the Indian market to force it to appear in Indian Criminal Court and pay for site clean up. Instead he agreed to explore what options exist within the law to hold Dow/Carbide accountable. What remains is an array of serious issues that continue to be raised by survivors and human rights groups around Dow/Carbide's liabilities associated with the disaster. A US District Court case asking for injunctive relief for the land and water contamination in Bhopal and damages, is on appeal. In India, criminal charges of culpable homicide against Union Carbide have yet to be faced by the US Corporation.

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Dow Facilities Protested Nationwide

On May 11, 2005, the day before Dow’s annual Shareholder meeting, several protests organized by Amnesty International, the Association for India’s Development, and Students for Bhopal targeted Dow facilities across the United States.

San Diego
With less than a week of preparation, members of Amnesty International (AI) and the Association for India's Development (AID), with assistance from Students for Bhopal, organized a protest at Dow's San Diego research and development facility to remind Dow employees and executives of Dow's moral and legal obligations to survivors of the 1984 Bhopal disaster.

For several hours on the morning of May 11, a dozen protesters informed Dow employees and many others passing by of the tragic legacy of the Bhopal disaster and its continuing effects. Prior to the protest, Kathy Smith, a member of both AI and AID, was interviewed on radioActive San Diego, a local independent radio station, along with H. Rajan Sharma, a lawyer pursuing justice for the victims of the Bhopal gas explosion in the New York court. Mr. Sharma provided details regarding the current conditions of the Bhopal victim and the status of their legal appeals. Ms. Smith described the protest and its goals as well as discussing Amnesty International's recent report of the disaster, "Clouds of Injustice: Bhopal disaster 20 Years on."

Atlanta
On the afternoon of the protest, there were 12 of us (pretty good for two days notice). Dow-Carbide (and yes they still have signage that says Union Carbide) plant folks knew we were coming or had seen us in the parking lot. They locked the entrance for visitors and the visitor parking lot (which wasn't locked last night or the night before when we stopped by for a visit.)

But we had come with the "fake" contaminated water, a slightly used "jhadoo", Amnesty's report and tons of signs that many worked on late last night, so there wasn't any going back. Only four of us went to make the delivery. The rest headed to Hwy 29 intersection near the plant to demonstrate.

As we were wondering how to get in the plant, a man came towards us. At first it looked like he may let us come by the visitor area but then he was firm and said he couldn't let us get on Dow's premises. So, the “delivery” which lasted about 10 minutes took place behind a chained fence. Govind videotaped the whole thing and Naga was on the camera. Laura and I spoke to the Plant lead/Manager who was sent or came out to deal with us.

He had an official Dow-Union Carbide statement for us (it was a printout from their website). He was very polite, listened to us, took the broom, water, report etc. and promised to take our concerns to his associates. He told us that that was all he would be able to do. This is a fairly small Dow-Carbide plant and has been around since 1973 so the Plant Lead/Manager remembered Bhopal and wanted us to know that he felt badly for what happened and what has been going on.

We went back and joined others holding signs near the highway. Some people stopped and took flyers from us - including delivery truck drivers. We ended by marching back to the plant and around it with slogans. We started with "jhadoo maro DOW ko" and switched to "Justice in Bhopal. Dow Clean up" because it would be understood by others and easier to pronounce for everyone.

One thing we noticed was that some of the signs didn't mention DOW Chemical, for those driving by who didn't know anything it would have been difficult to figure out why we were there. On an interesting note, there was a driving school in the corner where we were standing and the owner came out and spoke to Bindu & took a flyer. Instead of being upset that we were right in front of his signage, he told her that he didn't like Dow and was glad that we were out there.

Portland
On May 11, Amnesty International members and supporters from South Portland High School and the greater Portland area organized a vigil to remember Bhopal.

"Just after sunset, students and activists joined together for a candlelight remembrance ceremony for the victims of Bhopal. The vigil was held in downtown Portland's Tommy's Park. With informational posters on display, candles and incense, I led the ceremony, remembering the victims and dedicating the evening also to those still suffering around the world. After a moment of silence, those in attendance were able to sign postcards to send to Dow Chemical, and to get more information about Amnesty International's Corporate Action Network."

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1000 Students Tell JP Morgan to 'Stand Up' for Bhopal

On Friday, April 20th more than 1000 students from throughout the Northeast rallied at JP Morgan headquarters in New York City to ask them to vote for the Bhopal resolution and address Dow directly about its human rights violations in Bhopal. The protest was part of an annual “Get on the Bus” rally organized by Somerville, Massachusetts Amnesty Chapter 133. Aquene reports:

The Get on the Bus rally in New York City was incredible. Bhopal was among 4 major human rights events featured in this annual human rights rally. Since Amnesty's focus in the Bhopal campaign is the shareholder work, the group selected major Dow shareholder JP Morgan as our target. JP Morgan voted against the Bhopal resolution last year - to get them to vote in favor or even contact Dow about Bhopal would put an immense amount of pressure on Dow from this major financial institution to address the issue. I spoke about the Bhopal cause with others addressing the other human rights issues before the rally. The entire church was full and at the end they were all standing chanting "Justice for Bhopal! JP Morgan stand up!" (to Dow, for Bhopal). We definitely had at least 1000 people - we overflowed the barricades at JP Morgan. The students were incredibly passionate and several dozen staff came out of the building to watch the rally or peered out the windows at us in groups. What was even more fantastic was the building we were protesting was the Union Carbide building in New York - could not have been more powerful if we had planned it.

Thanks to the effect of the rally and the wonderful work of Amnesty's Amy O'Meara - we got a meeting with JP Morgan during the protest. 2,000 emails had been sent to them via Amnesty’s website and likely hundreds of letters via both Amnesty's and our own efforts. (They claimed they hadn't gotten forwarded to all the right people, didn't know how serious this was, etc.)

Amy, Anna Phelan the Amnesty Grp 133 action coordinator and myself met with Amy Davidsen, the Director of Environmental Affairs, a position set up to deal with JP Morgan's lending practices for the most part. Amy Davidsen said they haven't yet voted on the Dow proxies yet but will consider the Bhopal issue.

The students were unbelievably passionate and kept the chanting going for the entire time we were inside. A huge thanks to Anna Phelan and Group 133 for making this phenomenal event happen.

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Halloween: Dow is Death - 2003
(click here for the press release, here for photos!)

DOW GRIM REAPER TO CULL BROWN STUDENT BODY ON HALLOWEEN
AS PART OF A NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION FOR BHOPAL

This Friday afternoon, Halloween Day, students from BEAN, Artstorm, and other campus groups will take part in a national Day of Action against Michigan-based Dow Chemical, the largest chemical corporation in the world. Students from half a dozen other colleges will also be taking part in the Day of Action, which calls on Dow to accept its moral and legal responsibility for the Bhopal disaster, the worst industrial disaster in human history.

On December 3rd, 1984, a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, began leaking 40 tons of methyl isocyanate, a deadly gas. None of the plant's safety systems were operational, allowing the gas to spread throughout the city. Roughly half a million people were exposed to the gas and 20,000 have died to date as a result of their exposure. More than 120,000 people still suffer from such ailments as blindness, extreme difficulty in breathing, cancer, and gynecological disorders. The site has never been properly cleaned up and it continues to poison the people of Bhopal. In 2001, the Dow Chemical Corporation purchased Union Carbide, thereby acquiring its assets and liabilities. However Dow has refused to clean up the site, provide safe drinking water, compensate the victims, or disclose the composition of the gas leak, information that could potentially save many lives. Ten to fifteen people continue to die each month in Bhopal as a result of the disaster and the ongoing chemical contamination.

Students will meet on Thursday night to sketch chalk body outlines around the College Green. Inside the outlines, the students will write the name of a Bhopal victim and the words "Dow Shall Not Kill," the slogan that united thousands of college students against Dow Chemical during the Vietnam War, due to its production of Agent Orange and Napalm. The students will also take turns on Friday donning a Grim Reaper costume with the Dow Chemical logo painted on the back. Dow's Grim Reaper will be handing out pink "death" slips throughout Halloween day, which explain to its victims how they have died and why. Dow's Grim Reaper will cull 186 students from the Brown student body: an equivalent proportion of Bhopal's 1984 population of 800,000 have died because of the disaster and subsequent contamination.

"We feel that Halloween is the perfect time to highlight the unholy alliance that Dow and Death seem to have made," declared Mika Nagasaki, a sophomore at Brown. "Dow maximizes its profits by contributing to the deaths of thousands of people throughout the world, and Death is only too happy to collect these victims before their time. Dow's legacy of contamination and death must come to an end; by refusing to take action in Bhopal, Dow is condemning thousands more to an untimely end."

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Halloween: Dow is Death - 2005

On Halloween - Oct. 31st, 2005 - students at schools across the country organized events linking Dow with Death. "Halloween is the perfect time to highlight the unholy alliance that Dow and Death seem to have made," said Deepa Pendse, a member of AID-Ann Arbor. Body outlines, sketched in chalk, punctuated the sidewalk around the Dow Laboratory at the University of Michigan, and on the Tufts University campus as well. Students wrote the names of the victims to remember the individual tragedy and loss that so many people in Bhopal felt on THAT NIGHT. At Tufts and Boston University, the Boston Coalition for Justice in Bhopal gathered signatures for the "Don't Work for Dirty Dow" pledge and handed out fliers with the message that "Dow profits from Death." Students were also haunted by the Dow Grim Reaper, making special appearances at two prominent universities. Most famous for the death he spread in Bhopal, Vietnam, and Nicaragua, the Dow Grim Reaper emphasized that his legacy extends around the world, and gleefully posed for a front-page photograph in the Michigan Daily.

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Board Members Served with Summons for Carbide
(click here for the press release!)

STUDENTS NATIONWIDE “SERVE” DOW BOARDMEMBERS WITH OFFICIAL INDIAN SUMMONS FOR CARBIDE TO APPEAR FOR TRIAL IN BHOPAL

This week, students across the nation served members of the Dow Chemical Board of Directors with an official summons issued by the Indian Government for Dow’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Union Carbide, to appear for trial in India. The actions were organized by Students for Bhopal as part of an intensifying student movement against Dow, the first since the Vietnam War. The summons, associated with the world’s worst industrial tragedy, the Bhopal disaster, was first published in the Washington Post on February 21st, 1992.

On December 3rd, 1984, a toxic cloud of gas from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, enveloped the surrounding city, leaving thousands dead. More than 20,000 have died to date and more than 120,000 people still suffer from severe health problems as a result of their exposure. None of Union Carbide’s six safety systems were functional on the night of the disaster. In 1991 both Union Carbide’s former CEO, Warren Anderson, and the corporation itself were charged in Indian courts with culpable homicide, or manslaughter, in connection with the disaster. However neither Anderson nor Union Carbide have appeared to stand trial, and both have been declared “absconders,” or fugitives from justice, by the Indian Government. Dow purchased Union Carbide in 2001.

Dow, as the 100% owner of the Union Carbide Corporation, has the exclusive ability to ensure that Union Carbide appears for trial; its continuing refusal to do so is the legal equivalent of harboring a fugitive. Last year 18 members of the US Congress wrote that Dow’s actions “expose…a blatant disregard for the law” and urged the company to ensure the appearance of a Union Carbide representative before the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Bhopal. Dow has refused. Should Union Carbide be found guilty of the criminal charges in Bhopal, it could be sentenced to a fine which has no upper limit.

Students from two dozen colleges and universities nationwide participated in the action, mailing and hand-delivering more than two hundred copies of the official paperwork to the homes of thirteen of Dow’s fifteen Board Members. Copies of the Congressional letter on Bhopal and the testimonial of a Bhopal gas victim were also delivered.

The action precedes the May 13 Dow Shareholder’s Meeting, at which a resolution on Bhopal is due for a vote, and closely follows the announcement that two gas victims from Bhopal, Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla, have been awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize, known as the Nobel Prize for the Environment. Innovest Strategic Value Advisors Inc., a global leader in the analysis of investment risk, issued a report in April that claims pending liabilities, such as those in Bhopal, threaten to overwhelm the company.

“If Union Carbide is truly confident of its innocence, it shouldn’t be afraid to defend itself before a court of law,” said Ryan Bodanyi, the Student Coordinator for the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal. “As the owner of Union Carbide, Dow has a responsibility to obey the law and ensure that Union Carbide appears for trial in India. The victims of the world’s worst-ever corporate crime have waited long enough for their day in court."

###

..........• Coverage in Commondreams
..........• Coverage in Ghadar

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Demanding Compensation from the Govt of India
(click here for the press release!)

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION CALLS ON GOVERNMENT OF INDIA TO AID VICTIMS OF BHOPAL DISASTER

Today, February 24th, 2004, in an international day of action, students and concerned citizens delivered petitions, made phone calls, and met with leading officials from the Indian government, including its President, to demand that it release $300 million in compensation money to the survivors of the Bhopal disaster, and supply them with safe drinking water. The day of action was organized by Students for Bhopal, a member of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, to protest decades of governmental inaction.

The world's worst-ever industrial disaster devastated the Indian city of Bhopal nearly 20 years ago, in 1984. More than half a million people were exposed to the deadly gas released from a Union Carbide factory there; of those, 20,000 have died and 150,000 were maimed. Dangerous chemicals and heavy metals left abandoned by Union Carbide at the factory site have contaminated the drinking water supply for 20,000 people; these chemicals are now being passed on to the next generation through the breast milk of nursing women. Although the government installed ten overhead tanks as a safe drinking water supply, it has yet to install the proper piping so that people can have access to it. In 1989, Union Carbide settled with the Indian government for $470 million, but fifteen years later, more than $300 million remains undistributed in the settlement fund, including $84 million in interest. The Bhopal gas victims have a legal right to receive this money, but any distribution requires the cooperation of the Indian government.

Students at 20 high schools and colleges in the United States placed hundreds of phone calls to the Indian Embassy and Consulates, demanding that the government release compensation funds to the Bhopal survivors and supply them with safe drinking water. Fifteen students in India met simultaneously with the Governor of the state of Madhya Pradesh, which includes Bhopal, and presented him with a petition demanding the same. In Delhi, students met with the president of India to present the demands and asked for his support. In Canada, more than a dozen students at McGill University wrote letters to the High Commission of India in Canada to demand justice for the people of Bhopal.

"It's a travesty that the Indian government hasn't distributed even half of the compensation money to the victims after fifteen years, and that it has stood by for more than a decade while its citizens are forced to drink dangerously contaminated water," said Matt Lehrich, an organizer with Students for Bhopal. "This is far beyond incompetence--it represents a callous disregard for the rights of its citizens and the value of human life. The Indian Government, if it has any conscience, will act now to alleviate further suffering, contamination, and death."

More information about the Bhopal disaster and campaign can be found at www.bhopal.net and www.studentsforbhopal.org.

###

Hi all
here is some good news - a group called voices in the wilderness (chicago) has been very active with regard to our call - they have also been making calls to the embassy and chicago consulate - the group members are amazed that the embassy people actually listen to what they have to say and at DC the callers were also told that they have been receiving calls since the morn - kathy says they will ensure that all those coming to the vitw office today make calls to the Indian embassy and consulates.
Sounds really good !
best
kamayani

..........• Coverage in Corpwatch
..........• Coverage in Commondreams

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Bhopal Advocates Protest Against Tata
Demand that Tata not let Dow Chemical off the hook

April 6 2006 - Expressing solidarity with the victims of the 1984 gas leak tragedy in Bhopal, members of Students for Bhopal organized protests against the multinational Indian conglomerate Tata Group in seven US cities today, including Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Boston, and New York. The protestors demanded that chairman Ratan Tata withdraw his extra-legal attempt to shelter Dow Chemical from its liability in the Bhopal Gas Disaster. The protests took place outside the regional Tata offices and were marked by vibrant banners and slogans.

The nationwide day of action is a response to Ratan Tata’s letter to the Indian government in January offering to set up a trust fund with contribution from other corporations to clean up the contamination in Bhopal, thereby freeing Union Carbide and its parent firm Dow Chemicals of the US of its legal responsibility.

In December 1984, a poisonous gas leak from Union Carbide's pesticide factory in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, claimed at least 22,000 lives and caused injuries to many more over the years later. Several thousand tonnes of the toxic waste abandoned at the factory site has contaminated the groundwater in the area.

The survivors and campaigners have opposed the Tata plan as they insist that Dow Chemicals itself should clean up the site, as required under the law. They believe Tata hopes to help Dow Chemical rid itself of its unresolved liability. Dow will then be able to do business freely in India, while continuing to disregard the legal actions against it. According to Bhopal survivor Rashida Bee, “Union Carbide is a criminal corporation that is absconding from Indian courts. Its new owner is sheltering it. It is disgraceful to see Ratan Tata openly serving as an agent to a company that ran away after causing the world's worst industrial disaster.”

The survivors also believe that Ratan Tata lacks the credibility to lead a clean-up effort because of the long list of polluted places his company is responsible for, such as Sukhinda, Orissa and Patancheru near Hyderabad. To ensure that an adequate and legal clean up can occur without impediment, protestors demand that Tata rescind their unjustifiable offer. Sandhya Banda, member of the Seattle Coalition for Justice in Bhopal, asserts “If the Tata Group really wanted to help the Bhopalis, it would pressure Dow Chemical to clean up Bhopal now.”

Boston:

Our main camera broke and our backup camera ran out of batteries!! Otherwise the event in Boston went very well.
When Aquene Freechild of the Boston Coalition for Justice in Bhopal tried to present a petition to the Taj staff at the end of the protest, the Taj staff did not want her to enter and took the petition for the management. One doorman remarked, "We wouldn't want you to get charged with trespassing."

A woman and her daughter who learned about the Tata's alleged human rights abuse said they were on their way to have tea at the Taj and changed their minds because of what they learned from the group.

Cambridge's Bridget Hanna, dressed in flaming red with Dow's logo on her back did the tango with Framingham's Rajasekhar Jammalamadaka wearing a suit and Tata Group logo, while ralliers chanted:

"Dow and Tata sitting in a tree
K-I-L-L-I-N-G
First comes blood
Then comes denial
Then comes Dow absconding from trial."

The protest garnered this brief mention in the Boston Globe:

NEW ENGLAND NEWS IN BRIEF
Protesters target owner of Taj Boston
April 8, 2007

Protesters, including members of the group Advocacy International and students from MIT and Tufts University, gathered outside the Taj Boston hotel yesterday afternoon, saying the hotel's parent company is helping Dow Chemical to avoid responsibility in the aftermath of a major 1984 chemical release that is tainting drinking water in Bhopal, India. The Taj is owned by the Tata Group, a major Indian conglomerate that protesters say is lobbying the Indian government on behalf of Dow. Dow acquired Union Carbide, the company responsible for the Bhopal episode, in 1999. A spokeswoman for the Tata Group didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.

San Francisco:

Two of us Piyush Mehta and I went to TATA's office in San Francisco on Friday morning to register our protest. Located on the 22nd floor, the TATA's office turned out to be a satellite administrative office of TCS, a child of TATA Sons Ltd. Since TATAs seem to be anonymous there, we decided to see the head honcho of San Francisco office. However, the top 2 reps were out of office and so couldn't meet them either. So, we left a powerful banner and a few pamphlets (about TATA's unholy alliance with DOW) to be delivered to TATA's representatives.

New York:

At Friday's protest, it was only Adr!ane and myself. We flyered in front of the Taj hotel in the Pierre (a historic building in nyc). Adriane mostly held the signs while I passed out flyers. We talked to a few employees at the building, some more receptive than others. A few people stopped to ask what we were protesting. Eventually someone from the hotel said we could not protest in front of the building. We said it was a public sidewalk but he was insistent. So we went across the street. We took a few photos, which Adriane will send out. All in all, it was probably not a very high impact action. We were glad to be a part of the DOA though.

Seattle:

The Seattle event went pretty well too. There were 5 of us - Priya, Sandhya, Sukanya, Ananth and myself. Initially, most of the Tata employees ignores us, but as time went on, many of them came and spoke with us. One of them even defended Tata talking about how nationalist it was as a company. It went to the extent their boss was upset with them for talking to us. We could see him giving an earful to some of the employees. He hurriedly came out, gave us a PR contact and left. He also said he'd convey our message to higher authorities.

Everyone from the public was sympathetic. We collected signatures.

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Calling For Clean Water

On International Water Day, March 22, 2005, several dozen Students for Bhopal and Association for India’s Development members and supporters placed calls to Indian Government Offices throughout the United States, demanding clean water for the people of Bhopal.

More than 20,000 Bhopal residents--including gas victims and people who moved into the area after the disaster--are forced to drink water heavily contaminated by Carbide’s abandoned chemical wastes. Mercury, chlorobenzenes and naphthalene are some of the deadly chemicals that were found at dangerous levels in the groundwater. Already, reports indicate that the contamination may be causing an increased incidence of abdominal pain, giddiness, anemia, growth retardation among children, birth defects and a variety of skin ailments.

The Madhya Pradesh State Government has failed to implement a May 2004 Supreme Court directive instructing it to provide clean piped water to the 14 communities currently forced to consume this dangerous water. While the Government claims to be supplying 360,000 litres of water per day, itself a fraction of the need for 881,500 liters/day, the actual supply in February 2005 was a little over 125,000 litres per day--just 14% of the daily water requirement, according to data collected by the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.

Prabhu reports, “I called up the Consulate at Houston. They listened to me and said that the consulate general has received many emails and phone calls and that he would notify the appropriate officials in India about the growing concern for Bhopal.”

Ani reports, “I called the CG's listed number and it goes to a general phone line for the Consulate. Instead I tried the Dy. Consul's line since I have interacted with him earlier. However, I couldn't get past his staff who was polite but said the Dy. Consul is in a meeting. I gave my name and contact info and a brief mesg that I was calling about clean water for ppl of Bhopal. She has asked me to send representation by email. Which I will send to both the Consul and the Dy. Consul.”

Alka wrote, "Dear Consul General, I am writing to express my outrage and disappointment in how the Government of India (especially the Madhya Pradesh government) continues to evade its responsibilities in Bhopal. The gas-affected people of Bhopal and others coalitions demanding access to clean water are marching again in Delhi today.

"They are desperately bringing attention to a simple matter. They have the right to clean water. Non poisonous, non-contaminated water - for drinking, cooking, every day use.

"It’s a basic demand and a demand that the Supreme Court has supported through its directive last year. One that the Indian Government has yet failed to meet.

"During my visit to India a few weeks ago, I went to Bhopal for the first time on March 11th. I walked through the bastees (A few pictures from my walk: http://srini084.homeip.net/alkavisit/), the communities who live on the poison-affected land next to the old Union Carbide’s abandoned factory. Each basti had prominently placed black plastic tanks meant for clean water but often the local people were still using hand-pumps which they know brings up water from the contaminated grounds. It has been found to contain mercury, chlorobenzenes, naphthalene and other deadly chemicals with adverse health affects that have been amply documented.

"The local people had no other choice. Their water tanks were empty. They needed water. It was hot and the tanks had plastic bottles lined up in front of the dry tap, waiting.

"They told me that the water is supposed to be filled twice a day and to a particular level. But this hardly happens. The level of water varies in different communities, with some getting none at all, some getting it only once a day and not to it’s full level and in some places they skip days in a row. It also depends on the whims of the drivers bringing the water and whether it has rained or not. There are no pipelines in place for steady supply of enough clean water to meet the needs of the people living there.

"It is a pathetic condition to live in. It is a pathetic condition to ask the citizens of our country to live in. Go thirsty or drink the poison. When people in Atlanta ask me why the Indian government can’t just provide clean water to their own people, I never know what to say. Is it utter disregard, corruption or both?

"I implore you to put an end to the harm being done to these communities. It is despicable and an embarrassment to the effectiveness of the Indian system and the Indian government. As India and the world works hard to build an image of a scientific, competitive, cutting edge country, it is the ability to meet the basic needs of our citizens that will be the last and clear test of our progress.

"So, please stop asking the people affected by this horrendous disaster over 20 years ago to keep marching to the capitol to demand something as basic as clean water and to live free of poisons in their system. It is their right. Give it to them.

"And if I can be of any help in this matter, please let me know."

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Students Demand Trial for Dow
(click here for the press release!)

On March 16th, 2005, more than 650 students from across the nation “served” the Dow Chemical Company with an official summons issued by the Chief Judicial Magistrate's court in Bhopal, requesting that Dow appear before the court to explain why it continues to harbor its subsidiary, Union Carbide, from trial before the court. The fax action was organized as part of an intensifying student movement against Dow, the first since the Vietnam War. The summons, issued in January 2005, marks the first time that Dow has been directly implicated in the legal proceedings in Bhopal.

On December 3rd, 1984, a toxic cloud of gas from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, enveloped the surrounding city, leaving thousands dead. More than 20,000 have died to date and more than 120,000 people still suffer from severe health problems as a result of their exposure. None of Union Carbide’s six safety systems were functional on the night of the disaster. In 1991 both Union Carbide’s former CEO, Warren Anderson, and the corporation itself were charged in Indian courts with culpable homicide, or manslaughter, in connection with the disaster. However neither Anderson nor Union Carbide have appeared to stand trial, and both have been declared “absconders,” or fugitives from justice, by the Indian Government. Dow purchased Union Carbide in 2001.

Dow, as the 100% owner of the Union Carbide Corporation, has the exclusive ability to ensure that Union Carbide appears for trial; its continuing refusal to do so is the legal equivalent of harboring a fugitive. Last year 18 members of the US Congress wrote that Dow’s actions “expose…a blatant disregard for the law” and urged the company to ensure the appearance of a Union Carbide representative before the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Bhopal. Dow has refused. Should Union Carbide be found guilty of the criminal charges in Bhopal, it could be sentenced to a fine which has no upper limit.

Students from nearly 200 colleges and universities worldwide participated in the action, organized by Students for Bhopal and the Association for India’s Development.

“If Union Carbide is truly confident of its innocence, it shouldn’t be afraid to defend itself before a court of law,” said Ryan Bodanyi, the Student Coordinator for the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal. “As the owner of Union Carbide, Dow has a responsibility to obey the law and ensure that Union Carbide appears for trial in India. The victims of the world’s worst-ever corporate crime have waited long enough for their day in court.”

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Driving Dow's Chairman Out of Town

In May 2005, Students for Bhopal and the Association for India’s Development learned that William Stavropoulos, the Chairman of Dow’s Board of Directors, would be speaking at the Global IIT 2005 Conference on May 20-22nd in Washington DC. As one of the most prestigious technical institutes in the world, we understood Dow’s interest in speaking at the IIT Conference – but not the acceptance of the organizers. After all, Dow’s spokespeople have argued before that “$500 is plenty good for an Indian” and asserted that Union Carbide is not subject to the jurisdiction of India’s courts. By honoring the Chairman of Dow with its invitation, many of us felt, the IIT Conference organizers were endorsing Dow’s scorn for India’s people and its perpetuation of their misery.

We quickly sprung into action, drafting a petition that called on the conference organizers to repudiate Stavropoulos and Dow. Spread on IIT alumni listserves, the petition quickly gathered strength, collecting fully 1300 signatures. Within days the speaking engagement had turned into a full-scale controversy, and while the conference organizers battled to contain it, Stavropoulos quietly withdrew his name from the conference lineup.

Although the IIT Conference organizers have yet to concede to our key demand – that Dow be excluded from future conferences until they respect India’s courts and end their contamination of India’s people – we remain vigilant, and will intervene again if Dow is invited in the future.

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Student Campaign Media

..........• Coverage on Democracy Now!
..........• Featured in Corpwatch
..........• Coverage in the Hindustan Times
..........• The cover story in Threshold, the quarterly SEAC magazine (and this update too)
..........• A feature article in From the Ground Up
..........• Coverage on Green World--a project of Home Schoolers' Free Media
..........• Coverage on Border Crossings (KPFT 90.1 FM, Houston)
..........• Coverage in India New England
..........• Coverage in India-West
..........• Coverage in Siliconeer
..........• Coverage in the South Asian
..........• Coverage in Man's World Magazine (India)
..........• Featured in Moment (Ann Arbor, MI)
..........• Read the article in the Whole Life Times!
..........• Coverage in the Midland Daily News

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The international student campaign to hold Dow accountable for Bhopal, and its other toxic legacies around the world.
For more information about the campaign, or for problems regarding this website, contact
Shana Ortman, the US Coordinator for the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.
Last updated: April 30, 2008

WE ALL LIVE IN BHOPAL

"The year 2003 was a special year in the history of the campaign for justice in Bhopal. It was the year when student and youth supporters from at least 30 campuses in the US and India took action against Dow Chemical or in support of the demands of the Bhopal survivors. As we enter the 20th year of the unfolding Bhopal disaster, we can, with your support, convey to Dow Chemical that the fight for justice in Bhopal is getting stronger and will continue till justice is done. We look forward to your continued support and good wishes, and hope that our joint struggle will pave the way for a just world free of the abuse of corporate power."

Signed/ Rasheeda Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Affected Women Stationery Employees Union
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal