Tag Archives: Children

Bhopali children painting for justice

Over 700 children including students from 11 schools participated today in the drawing and painting contest organized by the Sambhavna Trust Clinic. Children made drawings on the subject of the Union Carbide gas disaster or contamination of ground water due to Carbide’s toxic waste.

Books and games were awarded to 17 children selected by three members of the editorial team of ‘Chakmak’ – a children’s magazine.

Children from Shri Nav Niketan Higher Secondary School, Rajiv Memorial High School, Adarsh Model School, Elite Higher Secondary School, Gyan Jyoti Middle School, Mamta Gyan Mandir, Sanjay Memorial High School, Mother Teresa Convent School, Nutan Higher Secondary School, Anjali Adarsh Vidyalaya & Local Government School participated in the contest held at Chhola Dussera ground. Students from Rajiv Memorial High School bagged the most prizes. Shweta Karn from Rajiv Memorial High School and Ajay Singh Yadav from the same school got the first and second prize in the 6-10 years category. In the 11-15 years category, Rani Sahu from Sanjay Memorial High School and Rekha Singh from Rajiv Memorial High School got the first and second prizes. 11 consolation prizes were awarded.

The Sambhavna Trust clinic provides free medical care to the survivors of the December ’84 gas disaster as well as to the residents of the communities affected by ground water contamination by Union Carbide. The painting contest for children was organized by Sambhavna to make children aware of the World’s worst industrial disaster and the problem of ground water contamination.

More pictures here.

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Bhopal orphans demand proper employment

Orphans of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster have formed their own organisation, Bhopal Ki Aawaaz, “the Voice of Bhopal”, to fight for the fulfilment of promises made to them, but never kept, by a long series of state dignitaries. At a press conference in Bhopal today, the orphans voiced their demand for proper employment and said they would launch an indefinite hunger strike from September 1st in support of their demand.

On 11th August 2004 Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation department informed the group of 18 orphans that their request for employment had been rejected. The orphans have been fighting for employment since 1993.

In July 2003 they staged a hunger fast without food or water, supported by then Opposition leader Babu Lal Gaur. Seven days after that fast, then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Digvijay Singh promised the orphans he would sanction a grant that would help them start their own small businesses. Given this promise and at the urging of the Chief Minister, they ended their waterless hunger fast. The promise was not honoured.

In Feburary, 2004, six months after the dishonoured promise, Bhopal Ki Aawaaz’s President Shahid Noor met new Chief Minister, Uma Bharti to ask her to honour the promise of her predecessor. Six months later the orphans were informed that their request had been rejected. They went to see their former supporter, Babu Lal Gaur, now Gas Relief Minister in the new state cabinet, but three meetings with him produced no results.

At the time of the gas disaster, the members of Bhopal Ki Aawaaz were aged between 6 months and 13 years. For years, while they were children, successive state governments treated them as mascots, trotting them in and out of public functions. In the last 19 years they have met 1 President, 2 Prime Ministers, 3 Governors, 4 Chief Ministers, 4 Ministers in Central Government, 3 Gas Relief Ministers and all of these officials made promises that they would be given jobs, but despite all these promises, the orphans are still unemployed or forced to work for really low wages. Members of Bhopal Ki Aawaaz appealed to other organizations working with victims of 1984 gas disaster to show solidarity by joining the indefinite hunger strike on September 1st.

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