Press Conference: Fighting for Justice, Survivors Will Begin Indefinite Fast Without Water

(Image from September 18th, 2014 Action at Chief Minister’s residence)

September 12, 2014

At a press conference today, five organizations working for the welfare of survivors of the December ‘84 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal today announced that a group of survivors and their supporters would be going on an indefinite fast without water to remind the central government of its responsibilities towards the curative petition for compensation pending in the Supreme Court of India.

The organizations said that the government had filed a curative petition in the apex court on December 3, 2010, the 26th anniversary of the disaster seeking additional compensation from Union Carbide, USA and its owner The Dow Chemical Company, USA for the disaster in Bhopal.

The organizations charged that the central and state governments have deliberately neglected their responsibilities towards the curative petition and is helping the American corporations walk away without paying the Bhopal survivors their due compensation.

“In the last four years there has been just one hearing on the curative petition and the governments at the Centre and the State have not moved a single application for urgent hearing on the matter.” said Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action. “The governments have also not filed a single reply to the submissions made by Union Carbide Corporation, Dow Chemical and Eveready Industries India Limited in the last four years” she added.

The organizations said that keeping in view the urgency of the curative petition they will be carrying out a series of non-violent direct actions to remind both the state and central governments of their constitutional duty of protecting the legal rights of adequate compensation.

The organizations pointed out that the curative petition by the Indian government downplays the damage caused by the disaster and seeks too little compensation.

“In 1985 the central government asked for 3.3 billion dollars as compensation, that would be about 7 billion dollars today. Union Carbide has paid only 470 million Dollars, the least the government should be asking for is 6.5 billion dollars. But the curative petition only asks for 1.2 billion dollars.” points out Balkrishna Namdeo, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha.

Rashida Bee, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh said “The central and state governments are presenting fraudulent data on death and injury caused by the disaster to justify the paltriness of additional compensation.  The government says only 5295 persons have died due to the disaster whereas its own medical research organization’s records show that twice this number died in the first 9 years itself.”

Nawab Khan, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha pointed out that the figures published by the Madhya Pradesh government show that there were 431495 chronic patients in the hospitals meant for gas affected people in 2010. “Counting in survivors who went to other health care institutions, we could say that well over 90 % of the persons exposed in 1984 continue to need hospital visits. However, the curative petitions of both the governments state that 93 % of the victims went to the hospital just for a day.” he said.

The organisations said that the have conveyed their decision to go on indefinite fast without water as part of their non violent direct action for adequate compensation to the Prime Minister, Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers and the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.

Rashida Bi, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh94256 88215 Nawab Khan, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha8718035409 Balkrishna Namdeo,Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha9826345423 Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra, Bhopal Group for Information and Action9826167369 Safreen Khan,Children Against Dow Carbide

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