Tag Archives: Dharna 2010

Day 4

Dharna Blog

Day 4: 29-07-2010

Today was relatively a light day though Delhi heat and humidity were present in equal measure. We started the day as usual with a fresh round of slogans. Some 100 Bhopalis joined us today. Amongst these were Mamu and Naeem who had also participated very actively in the last padyatra (footmarch) in 2008. Despite a two year period in between, that marked a growing restlessness with the State, their spirits remain undaunted.

We moved our dharna to a different location second time in a week. Now we are right opposite the street where we camped in 2006 and 2008. Soon, we assembled slides and photographs depicting the tragedy in Bhopal in last twenty six years. Lots of passersby came in to read the slides. The awareness caused by the media coverage in the days after the 7th June has also triggered a renewed interest in public.

However, something else caught our attention. Ever since morning there was quite a hustle bustle at Jantar Mantar.  Reason – A rally demanding 33% reservation for women in the Parliament.  A number of popular artists from Indian film Industry were to come- Sharmilla Tagore, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Aazmi amongst others.  Soon we saw thousands of women, men and children wearing blue caps with ‘33 percent’ marked on it, marching together from Parliament Street to Jantar Mantar, shouting slogans and singing songs. The rally was organized by Alliance for 33% and it saw participation from more than 350 organisations. The rally was also addressed by Members of Parliament D. Raja, Annie Raja and Brinda Karat who are also long time Bhopal supporters.  Later we learnt that a delegation went on to meet President Pratibha Patil.

Talking about political supporters, in the morning Sathyu and Rachna went on to meet DMK Member of Parliament Ms. Kanimozhi . She was among the many MPs who had endorsed a letter addressed to the Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh demanding Empowered Commission among other things in 2008. This time too she assured her full support to our demands and expressed her solidarity.

Around 5:30 in the evening a group of police men came to the dharna for now in Delhi the new rule says- ‘You Common men vacate Jantar Mantar, make way for Common wealth.’ So we packed our bags and marched to St’ Columbus School that treated us with remarkable hospitality and opened its arms to us for the night stay. We will be back tomorrow morning!

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Press Release: GoM recommendations are not enough

Press Statement

July 30, 2010

SanaBhopal survivors’ organisations today presented the case of Sana, an 8-year old girl from the contaminated water affected Annu Nagar, to Rajya Sabha Member, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan to highlight how the Group of Ministers’ recommendations last month do not address the unfolding health and economic disasters among victims of Carbide’s toxic legacy in Bhopal. Bhopalis are on the fourth day of their indefinite dharna in Jantar Mantar.

Sana, who has had to drink contaminated groundwater for the last four years, developed a tumour in her throat a year ago. Over the months, the tumour has grown to block her wind-pipe. She now breathes through a tube that goes in to into her throat. Her family of four, including a seriously underdeveloped 2-year old brother, does not figure in the Government’s schemes for free medical care because contamination affected communities are not considered by the Government to be at par with the victims of the gas disaster.

Sana is in Jantar Mantar with her parents as part of the rally from Bhopal, as her parents could not even afford the cost of train travel to Delhi for treatment. Bhopal-based Gandhi Medical College has referred them to AIIMS to get the tumour operated as local facilities do not exist. In response to an appeal for financial assistance that Sana’s parents made with the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, they were told to get an estimate of the cost of treatment from AIIMS.

Two samples of groundwater taken from Annu Nagar by the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi in 1999 have revealed toxic levels of chemicals, all of which were generated in the Union Carbide factory.

“Contamination affected people do not figure in the list of those eligible for free treatment. They must be and that is one of our main demands,” said Syed M Irfan of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purusg Sangharsh Morcha . Health abnormalities, particularly among children, and birth defects are rampant among both gas-affected and contamination-affected communities.

“Sana is a case in point to demonstrate that the Group of Ministers in their hurried 4-day meeting cannot and have not addressed the lingering rehabilitation needs that four political parties and 9 Prime Ministers have failed to address in 26 years,” said Rachna Dhingra spokesperson for the Bhopal Group for Information and Action.
Leave alone the contamination-affected, majority of the gas-affected have been ignored by the Group of Ministers. The Government of India’s Rs. 700 crore enhanced compensation package covers only 7 percent of the total registered victims. At least 530,000 will get nothing from this package.

Sana with parentsThe proposal for the Empowered Commission on Bhopal, which Mr. Paswan had presented and got approved in the earlier Group of Ministers in 2008, would have been in a position to address all aspects of rehabilitation. But the Group of Ministers reconstituted last month has gone back on the government’s commitment to set up the Empowered Commission.

“By failing to set up the Commission, the Group of Ministers has pushed any possibility of rehabilitation of the Bhopal victims, if any, far into the future,” said Nayeem from the Children against Dow-Carbide.

The Bhopal survivor organisations are taking Sana to AIIMS tomorrow to get her examined and possibly operated upon. They have urged Mr. Paswan and other Members of Parliament to ensure that Bhopal is taken as a key issue of discussion in the parliament.

Syed M Irfan
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha Mob. 9329026319

Rashida Bee, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh Mob. 9425688215

Balkrishna Namdeo
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha Mob. 9826345423

Safreen Khan
Children Against Dow-Carbide Mob. 9826994797

Rachna Dhingra, Satinath Sarangi
Bhopal Group for Information and Action Mob. 9826167369

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PR: Bhopalis launch indefinite agitation in Delhi

Bhopalis launch indefinite agitation in Delhi 

Press Statement – July 26

Contacts: U.S. – Shana Ortman – 415-746-0306
India – Rachna Dhingra – 9826167369

More than 150 Bhopal survivors and people from water-affected areas began an indefinite dharna in Jantar Mantar that will last through the parliamentary session. The agitation intends to pressure the Central Government to revisit its recent decisions on issues of compensation, health care and rehabilitation, legal action against Union Carbide and Dow Chemical, and hazardous waste clean-up. Simultaneously, a Bhopal survivor has filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court asking the court to strike down the Delhi Police’s arbitrary order prohibiting overnight stay at Jantar Mantar. “The Police order violates our fundamental right to express ourselves,” the five organisations coordinating the dharna said.

Members of Parliament, including Mr. D. Raja (CPI), Abani Roy (RSP), Syed Azeez Pasha (CPI), Hannan Mollah CPI (M) visited the dharna site in solidarity. Mr. Raja, General Secretary of CPI said “The Government is insincere and insensitive to the plight of the Bhopalis, and has gone back on its promise to set up an Empowered Commission that would take care of all rehabilitation issues.” He said “The Group of Ministers was not formed to help the Bhopal survivors. It was formed to save the Congress party from accusations that they had allowed the culprits to escape.”
Mr. Abani Roy of the Revolutionary Socialist Party said “Irrespective of party, the NDA and UPA have betrayed the Bhopal victims.” Mr. Syed Pasha and Mr. Hannan Mollah also pledged to take up the issue in this upcoming parliament session.

“The arbitrary recommendations of the Group of Minister (GoM) will deny compensation to 93% of those who the government has certified to have suffered gas exposure. Because of the GoM’s hasty decision, in communities as severely affected as Jaiprakash Nagar which is right opposite the Union Carbide factory, 91% of people who have only received Rs 25,000 as compensation so far will receive no additional sum. We simply cannot allow this and will not rest till all gas victims receive additional compensation,” said Rashida Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh. The organizations also plan to hold the government to its promise of filing a curative petition against the Supreme Court’s 1989 judgment on the settlement, in order to extract more compensation from Union Carbide Corporation, USA. “The Government will not move on anything if we are out of sight. We can’t afford to leave until all our demands are addressed,” Bee says.

Satinath Sarangi of Bhopal Group for Information & Action charged the central government of going back on its promise of setting up of an Empowered Commission for long term medical care and rehabilitation of Bhopal victims and their children. “In sanctioning over Rs. 500 crores for rehabilitation of the victims to the Madhya Pradesh government, the central government has chosen to ignore rampant misutilization and misappropriation of funds, non implementation of vital projects and more importantly the adverse comments of its own ministries and the planning commission on the state government’s plans. We will continue to fight for setting up of the Empowered Commission that the Prime Minister had promised us in 2008,” he said.

The organizations expressed satisfaction that the central government has filed an application for Rs 350 crores from Dow Chemical for clean up of hazardous waste. If the government is serious about making the Polluter pay, it should become a party in the ongoing litigation in the US federal court on the issue of contamination. “We also want the government to move on the extradition of all foreign accused absconding for the last 18 years. Along with Anderson, the government needs to bring the authorized representatives of Union Carbide Corporation,USA, Union Carbide Asia, Hong Kong and Union Carbide Asia Pacific, Hong Kong, said Mr Balkrishna Namdeo of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha.

Syed M. Irfan of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha expressed his dismay over the lack of response on the part of the central government with regard to the offer of financial and technical assistance of the European Union for the scientific assessment of depth and spread of the poisons in and around the Bhopal factory. He said that such an assessment is essential to decide on the best means for environmental remediation and assessing the compensation payable by Dow Chemical. He said that the survivors of Bhopal and organizations in Pithampur and Indore will not allow the government to transport and incinerate the hazardous waste from Union Carbide.

“We are also demanding that the government scrap plans of dismantling the plant structures in the abandoned Union Carbide factory. How can they do it? It is part of world heritage. Instead of bringing them down the government must ensure that they are no longer poisonous and make them a part of the memorial. Also we will ask the government to include material on the Bhopal disaster in school and college text books.” said Safreen Khan of Children against Dow-Carbide.

Syed M Irfan
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha Mob. 9329026319

Rashida Bee, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh Mob. 9425688215

Balkrishna Namdeo
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha Mob. 9826345423

Safreen Khan
Children Against Dow-Carbide Mob. 9826994797

Rachna Dhingra, Satinath Sarangi
Bhopal Group for Information and Action Mob. 9826167369

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