Police detain Bhopal protesters

BBC News, May 5, 2008
Bhopal protesters say babies born since the disaster suffer illnesses
Police in India’s capital have detained dozens of protesters demanding more help for victims of the world’s worst industrial disaster, at Bhopal in 1984.
They were briefly taken into custody after an unauthorised protest outside Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s office.
They are demanding more compensation and a better clean-up of the site.
Several thousand people died in Bhopal on the night of the gas leak from a Union Carbide factory. Thousands more died in the weeks that followed.
The protesters wanted to meet the prime minister to press their case for more to be done to clean up the site around the former factory, which still contains thousands of tonnes of toxic chemicals.
Dozens of demonstrators, including a number of children, were taken to a nearby police station but were freed two hours later.
Police said the protesters had no appointment with the prime minister and demonstrations around the official residence were not permitted.
Many of the demonstrators have been in Delhi for more than a month, after walking 800km (500 miles) from the site of the 3 December 1984 disaster.
The BBC’s Chris Morris in Delhi says one key issue is the plight of children born in Bhopal since the disaster who suffer from a variety of mental and physical disorders.
Union Carbide was bought by the Dow Chemical Company in 2001. Dow says it is not responsible for cleaning up the site, which sits on land owned by the Madhya Pradesh state government.
Union Carbide paid $470m in compensation to victims in 1989.

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