Tag Archives: Babu Lal Gaur

Political

By June 2005 Babulal Gaur, then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, had for a year been ignoring a Supreme Court ruling to provide safe drinking water for communities whose wells were being poisoned by chemicals leaking from the derelict Carbide plant. The reason: lack of funds. But this did not stop him announcing plans to spend Rs 800 crores ($180 million) on beautifying the state’s cities with ornamental fountains and other amenities. Women who went with their children to government offices to protest were beaten, kicked and punched by police. We have the pictures. Meanwhile the minister in charge of gas relief and rehabilitation celebrated his birthday with a 52 kg cake and a two-mile-long procession which included camels and dancing horses. (Picture on this page.) To this add decades of neglect and broken promises from successive Indian governments, and the indifference of every US president from Reagan to Obama, and no wonder the Bhopalis sing:

Asia, Afrika, Amrika shake,
thrones and kings fall down, queen’s crowns
set with precious stones go rolling in the dust
when the people wake.
Politicians quiver, Kampani trembles
rip-off laws begin to totter
and the CM, dirty rotter, shivers when the people wake.

Prime Minister, did it hurt when they took out your eyes?

They must be gone because things that appal the rest of us, you seem not to see. You are blind to the agonies of 100,000 people who are still sick in Bhopal 25 years after Union Carbide’s gases leaked there.

Blind to report after report recording the presence of pesticides and heavy metals in soil and water, and blood, in wombs, and mother’s milk.

Blind to the children born blind, lame, limbs twisted or missing, deafmute, brain-damaged, with cleft-lips, cleft palates, web fingers, cerebral palsy, tumours where should be eyes – the children of Bhopal. The living children. The stillborn often can’t be recognised as human.

You are blind to the Supreme Court order to provide clean water and the failure of officials to obey it. MP Chief Minister Babulal Gaur said there was no money for clean water, then unveiled a 600 crore plan to beautify Bhopal with ornamental fountains.

Where were you when Bhopali women brought their damaged children to your house? You had them arrested. The policewomen who led them away wept, but your blind eyes did not.

When they came to your office to protest, did you shut your curtains and say to yourself, ‘I am the Prime Minister of India. I do not have to see police kicking and beating children.’

Why are you blind to promises you made after the Bhopalis walked to Delhi in 2006 and 2008? Where is the Empowered Commission on Bhopal? When will you take steps against Dow Chemical, the owner of Union Carbide?

Why are you blind to the note from India’s justice ministry, holding Dow Chemical liable for contaminating Bhopal? And for paying for a clean-up?
Why are you blind to Dow’s admitted bribery of Indian government officials?

You have proved yourself blind to justice, blind to honour, blind to decency, and to the suffering of the poor whom your high office binds you to protect.

Blind in to everything but foreign dollars?

Prime Minister, can we get our eyes removed too? Because it is becoming extremely difficult to see you ignore the truth and tell us, everything’s ok.

Brilliant postcard campaign developed by Hemant Jain. If you would like a batch of postcards to send to the Prime Minister of India, please email us.

100 children rally against Gas Relief Minister Gaur

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

November 17, 2008
*Press Statement*
Over a hundred children from the communities near the abandoned Union Carbide factory in Bhopal today set fire to an effigy of the Minister for Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation at Neelam Park. They appealed to all citizens poisoned by Union Carbide to do their best to ensure that the Minister is not re-elected from his constituency that includes areas contaminated by Union Carbide’s poisonous chemical waste.
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Photos: Prakash Hatvalne
The children said that because of their age they can not cast their vote but the outcome of the election could potentially influence their future in a big way. Ashsish (13) from Shiv Nagar said that if people vote for Mr Babulal Gaur in this election they will be condemning themselves and their children to a toxic future. Rafat (14) from Gupta Colony said that the people in the polluted areas have voted for Mr. Gaur eight times in the past, yet he has always neglected the people here. She said that four years ago the Supreme Court of India had directed Mr. Gaur’s government to supply clean water in these areas but because of his neglect till today people are forced to drink poisoned water.
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Sarita (14) from Prem Nagar said that too many children in the polluted areas are being born with physical and mental disabilities. There are children with damaged brains, with cleft lips and missing palates, with their fingers all joined together, with twisted limbs being born in families that have used the local groundwater from hand pumps for many years. She said that when people went to request Mr Gaur to arrange for medical treatment and rehabilitation for the children born with disabilities he refused to listen to them.
Vicky (12) said that Shiv Nagar where he lived with his family was more than 2 kilometers away from Union Carbide’s factory and because of continued neglect by Mr Gaur the poisons had spread over the years and reached his community. He said that Mr. Gaur has thrice been the Minister in charge of relief and rehabilitation of Union Carbide’s victims and once he was even the chief minister and till today he has not done anything to improve the conditions of the poison affected people or to protect future generations from deadly poisons.
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Yasmeen (13) from Gupta Colony said that she had walked all the way from Bhopal to New Delhi in February – March this year asking for rehabilitation and justice for the people poisoned by Union Carbide. “We won our battle after five months of struggle and the Prime Minister said that an Empowered Commission on Bhopal will be set up but now Mr Gaur is opposing the setting up of this Commission” said Yasmin who is determined to do her share to defeat Mr. Gaur in the election.
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Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh

Syed M Irfan,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha

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Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

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An open letter to Shri Babu Lal Gaur, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh

ABOUT YOUR PLAN TO BUILD A NEW MEMORIAL TO BHOPAL’S GAS VICTIMS

Dear Chief Minister Gaur, Yesterday in Bhopal you told a press conference that you have decided to build a memorial to the memory of those who died in the Union Carbide gas disaster of twenty years ago. “Even after 20 years have passed,” you said, “no memorial has been built for the people who lost their lives in lethal MIC gas leakage from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal in 1984,” adding that you have already sought the support of Mr Arjun Singh, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, who has promised assistance. You have decided the nature of the memorial, which, you told reporters, “will resemble the Union Carbide factory from where lethal methyl isocyanate leaked out on the night of December 2, 1984.”

Continue reading An open letter to Shri Babu Lal Gaur, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh

Aye aye aye, what’s all this then?

Hysterically funny news has just reached us. Chief Minister Gaur visited a Bhopal police station the other day and was appalled by the size of the pandus. He has ordered them to go jogging and practice yoga. They are to clean up their filthy police chowkis and must watch movies on good behaviour.

We would like particularly to draw the Chief Minister’s attention to the distressing condition of Reserve Inspector Chauhan. As you can see from the picture below, the portly fellow is scarcely able to mount into his police vehicle. Exercise will also make him better able to swing his fist into the faces of people he dislikes.

On 25 November 2002, tiring of nothing whatever being done about the toxic chemicals abandoned in Union Carbide’s factory, the local people decided to begin a clean-up themselves. The chemicals have been lying in the factory since THAT NIGHT when thousands died in the gas leak. Some are heaped in the open air. Twenty monsoons have washed their toxins deep underground and into drinking wells. Lead, mercury and organochlorines have been found in breast milk of women living nearby. People are getting sick. Union Carbide (Dow Chemical) disclaims responsibility. The corporation blames the local government and the government blames the corporation. Meanwhile nothing at all is being done to protect the local people.

People were fed up. They said, “If no one else will clean up this factory that is poisoning us, by god we’ll do it ourselves.” On 25 November 2002 local people entered the factory along with friends and experts who know how to handle poisons. Their plan was to begin containing the visible waste, lock it in sealed drums in a warehouse and hand the keys to the authorities.

Police arrived with rifles, shields and batons. Our friends sat on the ground to protest. Champa Devi Shukla (joint-winner of this year’s Goldman Award) led the chant of ‘Jhadoo Maro Dow Ko!’ (Whack Dow with a broom!) Reserve Inspector Chauhan came wading into the crowd. He grabbed a young man and he and another copper dragged him to the police truck and he was flung in. Not without difficulty, Chauhan climbed in.

‘Who gave you permission?’ Chauhan threw the first punch. Hauled back for the next. ‘I asked you, Where’s your permission?’

Back came the fist. Our friend tried to shield his face. Third punch landed. At this point the police spotted our video camera. This happened just before the 18th anniversary. In a few weeks it will be the 20th. The poisons sleep in peace, the killer plant goes on killing.

If you want to help us do something about the poisons and the contaminated water, get involved. The more people pile on the pressure the harder it will be for Dow and politicians to ignore. A resolution has been tabled in the US Congress, calling on Dow to assume responsibility for Union Carbide’s mess and clean it up. US citizens should lobby their representatives to support this resolution, #503.

Meanwhile here is a poster (large PDF, 1.6megs) of the incident described above. If you would like copies for distribution to colleagues, friends or to put up in schools and colleges, please email us.

THE ORIGINAL REPORT FROM INDIA NEWS, BHOPAL

Yoga and jogging 10 km twice a day followed by lectures on good behaviour and a movie in the night — this has become the routine for policemen in this Madhya Pradesh capital on the orders of Chief Minister Babulal Gaur.

On a surprise visit to police stations in Bhopal last week, Gaur was annoyed to see flabby and out of shape policemen. He was also aghast to see the dirty conditions and poor maintenance of police stations.

“Reduce your weight and keep police stations clean and in order,” Gaur curtly told the policemen.

The very next day, most police stations were cleaned and whitewashed. Old, unwanted files were destroyed and necessary ones were kept in order. New tablecloths and curtains replaced soiled ones.

One task over, Bhopal’s Deputy Inspector General of Police Sanjay Singh and Superintendent of Police Pawan Shrivastava sat together to frame a plan for reducing the weight of their men.

On Friday, 60 policemen reached the Police Training and Research Centre where they were first given lessons in yoga. They were then made to jog 10 km.

In the afternoon, the batch again assembled at the centre to attend lectures on good behaviour. The evenings were reserved for more yoga and jogging. For entertainment in the night, the policemen were shown a movie.

“This programme will be conducted for batches of policemen every week. Once the programme is over, the policemen will be asked to practice yoga in their homes for half-an-hour every day,” a senior police official told IANS.

“The men are being given a week’s off while they attend the yoga classes. The whole exercise will continue till all policemen learn the basics of yoga and are physically fit,” he said.
But a retired state police chief said the effort to reduce the weight of police personnel would not bear fruit.

“Just three or four months back, the policemen of Bhopal were taught yoga at the behest of Sanjay Singh. But the chief minister still found the policemen overweight,” the retired officer said on condition of anonymity. “That means Singh’s efforts were useless. I feel that strong action must be taken against overweight policemen. After all, policemen need to be the fittest.”