"Pissing dog" leads the boycott as shopkeepers throw out stocks of Tata tea ad salt

Bhopal, January 17, 2006
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I hope Ratan Tata reads bhopal.net, for these pictures will tell him exactly what the locals think of his move to let Dow Chemical off the Bhopal hook.
Tata stands to make billions of dollars out of joint ventures with Dow – but Dow is uneasy about investing in India while the Bhopal mess remains unresolved – it is not impossible that all Dow’s Indian assets may be seized to pay for the clean up of the foul mess left by its subsidiary Union Carbide.
Dow says it is being unfairly blamed for the continuing pollution, but nobody asked it to buy Union Carbide, thereby acquiring that company’s liabilities as well as its assets. Probably Dow thought that as Carbide had got away with thumbing its nose at Indian authority, and given the notorious corruption in Indian politics, it would have no problems. It climbed onto the hook of Bhopal all by itself and now it cannot get off.
Enter Ratan Tata with the brilliant idea of setting up a general fund to clean the Bhopal factory. Dow could make a contribution, reap the PR benefits and claim that it had done its bit. Tata is amazed that the Bhopalis aren’t licking his boots in gratitude.
The people in the pictures below are the same people who walked 500 miles to Delhi to ask the government to make Dow clean up the factory. They want a proper clean-up, to the highest international standards. They also want proper medical care for those made ill by the poisoned water. A recent study by the Chingari Trust revealed extraordinarily high incidence of birth defects and brain damage in the affected communities. The survivors want research into the long term effects of the mass poisoning and commensurate medical provision for as long as it is needed. They want a rehabilitation scheme for those left unable to work, and lastly they want fair compensation.
Tata’s proposal addresses none of these points. It does not acknowledge the survivors’ own voice in the matter. It’s malik talking to malik as usual, not realising that the world has changed. The Bhopalis say to Tata, first clean up your own messes, undo the damage you have done in the Gulf of Kutch, Mithapur in Gujarat, Patancheru in Andhra, Jamshedpur and Bokaro River in Jharkhand, Sukinda in Orissa and many other places.
Tata’s ploy is the latest in a long line of failed attempts to prevent the Bhopal survivors from getting justice.
We piss on it.
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A young, vocal protester at the front of the march.
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Same young marcher continues to be a vocal participant.
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Another young protester, with a few words for Tata’s benefactor, Dow Chemical.
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The protesters get fired up as the dog takes aim.
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The dog takes an encore.
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Shahzadi Bee and friend doing their bit.
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A shopkeeper dumps some of his Tata tea products into the soiled Tata bag.
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The rally gradually worked its way through the gas-affected districts.
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Good energy from the leading man (front, left) and Vikas, too.
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Shahzadi Bee and Vikas at the front of the rally.
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Another store owner disposes of three Tata tea packets.
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The dog hits the mark.
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Shahzadi leading the chant.
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A shopkeeper dumps his stock of Tata tea.
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Another store throws away their Tata salt.
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The crowd was thick, the dog progressed through Bhopal amid a forest of signs condemning Tata.
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In front of Tata signage on Chhola Road.
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A shop keeper tears off a Tata packet for disposal.
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Then, he signs a pledge not to sell Tata products.
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Another unceremonious disposal of Tata tea, this time appropriately in front of an old Tata pay phone.
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This shopkeeper reads the entire pledge…
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…before signing it.

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