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Injured Bhopali boy may lose his hand

Anger flares as crowds hold Dow and Coe responsible

“What I’m seeing is a very violent lathi charge against people lying on the tracks, and stone throwing against police, a full-on battle. I’m seeing more fires on the road, women with blood running down their faces from head wounds, cage-like structures full of people presumably under arrest, and some of the TV cameras now appear to be shooting from behind riot shields. There are clearly thousands of people on the streets.”

Spoke on the phone a few hours ago to a survivors’ leader in Bhopal. Sorry not to get this up sooner, a lot of things are going on. Everyone flying about crazily. Here’s what she told me:

15-year old Daoud is seriously injured in hospital and may lose his hand after it was badly mangled by a rubber bullet fired by police.

It happened at Barkhedi, one of five places where the survivors lay down on the tracks to stop trains.

The survivors had announced the places where survivors were to make their way in groups and the police in riot gear with helmets, shields and cudgels (lathis) were waiting.

Police attack and beat elderly women and men

Among the survivors in this place were several older women, among the Goldman Prize co-winner and co-founder of the Chingari Trust, Rasheeda Bi (55).

Police attacked her with cudgels and fists. Her brother in law, coming to her aid, had his leg broken in three places.

Among the other older ladies attacked by police with cudgels were Hazra Bee, a grandmother whose grandchildren suffer serious birth defects, and Bano Bee (60), whose hand is badly bruised and swollen. In 2006 in Delhi, Bano was knocked unconscious by a police kick to her ribs. In hospital she was threatened being cut open. 18 year old Rafat was dragged along the stony ground till her skin was scraped off. Nafisa was also beaten. Like Rashida and Bano, Nafisa has twice walked the 500 miles to Delhi (she is the first speaker in Daniel Gosling’s excellent video of the 2008 padyatra, where at 9′:43″ you can see Rashida, Nafisa and Bano together.).

Police attack sparks angry response

The attack on the women drove the younger boys and men to a fury and they began throwing stones at the police, who responded by throwing stones back at them.

The police then fired rubber bullets directly into the mass of survivors on the tracks. This is when Daoud’s hand was injured.

Until the police attacked the women the action had been peaceful. Pictures and footage from Barkhedi clearly show the police attacking with cudgels first, after which the situation grew increasingly violent.

The protests passed off peacefully at the other four locations.

Eight women were arrested but are now released after, as reported in the earlier post, survivors leaders met the Chief Minister, who agreed to all their demands (for details of these please see the rail roko pages links at right) and wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The response to the rail roko call was overwhelming. Fifty thousand people turned out onto the streets.

“We had never expected so many,” said the survivors’ leader, “the people were angry about being lied to for years. They were angry that people in high places side with Dow, as the London Olympics are doing, and Lord Coe’s continual parroting of Dow PR … Even after the Chief Minister called us [the survivors’ leaders] to a meeting and agreed to all our demands – the people have learned not to trust politicians – they wanted to stay on the railway tracks.”

Even after the action was called off people were wandering with blood on their faces and clothes joined huge crowds milling in the centre of the city, who were horrified to see the state of them.

Huge public anger at Dow and Coe

Anger turned to fury when the TV networks began broadcasting reports that Dow Chemical had refused to appear before the Supreme Court and that Lord Coe was refusing to withdraw his support of Dow.

Dow’s statement, issued through its lawyers was so terse as to be insulting and its remarks dismissive, designed to provoke.

“The Bhopal victims have been more than adequately compensated.”

Really? Well, Lord Coe, check these figures. Then decide whether you’ll also start repeating Dow’s famous 2002 statement, made the year after it merged with Union Carbide:

“$500 is plenty good for an Indian”.


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Police fire on, stone and beat Bhopal survivors

One critical, many arrested in Rail Roko, eyewitnesses speak of people covered in blood on 27th anniversary of gas disaster

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The “rail roko/stop the trains” protest in Bhopal began peacefully as planned at dawn this morning. Survivors with their families and friends gathered in groups and went to places on the railway line to lie down and begin a peaceful protest.

Police in riot gear with shields and “lathis”, long heavy clubs, turned out in force and began to attack the survivors, sparing neither the old, women and children.

Phone reports speak of people hit by stones and lathis covered in blood. One person is said to be critical in hospital. Many have been arrested. Bodies are lying on the ground in scenes reminiscient of the gas disaster of which today is the 27th anniversary.

Rail Roko facts and figures here

The “rail roko” was a desperate last attempt to get the Indian government to publish the true figures of deaths and injuries attributable to the 1984 gas disaster. It is well recognised the numbers of victims were vastly underrated.

The $470 million 1989 settlement between Union Carbide and the Indian government was based on those figures, consequently the compensation available to victims was pitifully inadequate.

That settlement was not, as Union Carbide’s alter ego Dow Chemical (they merged into one operation in 2001) claims “full and final”. It was reopened by the Supreme Court in 1991 when criminal charges were reinstated against Union Carbide.

The present government has gone back to the Supreme Court with a “curative petition” to seek additional compensation from the company on the basis of what we now, 27 years later, know to be the scale of the human toll.

While welcoming the curative petition, the survivors are frustrated because the government is still not publishing the true figures. For example the curative petition counts 5295 deaths, but the government’s own figures, obtained from the Indian Council of Medical Research and other government bodies, put the true death toll at 22,917.




That figure continues to grow. Just last week our friend Raghubir lost his battle against the injuries sustained on “that night”, 27 years ago.

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Fair and adequate compensation

According to figures published by the Indian government’s apex medical research organization, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), at least 20,000 people had died by 2009 from injuries caused by the gas leak. ICMR’s research shows also that between 1984 and 1989 there were 3,500 spontaneous abortions as a result of gas exposure. These need to be taken into account. In the Curative Petition filed in the Supreme Court, the Indian government has ignored the findings of its own research agency and presented a ridiculously low figure of 5,295 deaths caused by the gas disaster.

Correcting the figures and fixing compensation


Compensation required based on 1991 payouts adjusted for inflation

The figures in this chart reflect the correct number of victims, drawn from the government’s own figures. Each is entitled to the payout given to the lower number of victims in 1991, and when those sums are adjusted for inflation from 1991-present, we get the figures that the government should be seeking in the Curative Petition.


How the correct figures were calculated

Asterisks and footnotes refer to figures given in Chart I above.

*Figures till 2009 including spontaneous abortions till 1989.

** Combined population (as per figures of 1984) currently with exposure induced illnesses in moderately and mildly affected areas less the number of exposure related deaths in these areas.

*** Population of severely affected area (as per figures of 1984) less number of deaths.

Categories not supported by ICMR’s decadal study

Note 1

Does not include injuries caused to next generation victims

Note 2

Figures of resident population of severely, moderately and mildly affected area (as per figures in 1984) based on ICMR’s decadal study on long term health impact

Note 3

Range of compensation

Note 4

Average of maximum and minimum compensation amounts

Note 5

Compensation payable in 2010 adjusted for inflation (increase in CPI= 4.88)

These figures do not include damage to the next generation of victims nor compensation for the contamination of water and consequent health injuries in communities of about 40,000 people.

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Bhopal Survivors to stop Trains on Dec 3, 2011 if the government does not present correct data on the death and injury figures in the upcoming hearing of the Compensation petition

 Press Statement                                       17 October 2011


At a press conference today five organizations of the survivors of December 84, Union Carbide disaster announced that they will hold a peaceful ‘Rail Roko’ (Stopping Trains) if their demand for ensuring adequate compensation to all victims of the disaster is not met within the next one month. The organizations who had organized a successful city wide bandh recently demanded that the central and state governments present correct figures of injury and death in the soon to be heard curative petition in the Supreme Court.


“The peaceful manner in which survivors of all walks of life came together for the ‘bandh’ is a testimony of the Bhopali’s collective spirit against injustice”, said Rashida Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh. “We are very hopeful that the call for indefinite peaceful ‘Rail Roko’ will receive similar widespread response from the survivors of the disaster” she said.

Banner Reads: Adequate Compensation is a right of every gas victim; Stop Trains on Dec 3 2011 for your right of adequate compensation

The organizations presented copies of letters sent to the Prime Minister, Chief Minister and Group of Minister on Bhopal in the last one year on the issue of wrongful denial of compensation to majority of the gas victims. “All we are asking is that the government presents figures of injury and death based on the report of the Indian Council of Medical Research on the health impacts of the disaster. These findings show that majority of gas victims are permanently and not temporarily injured and that the death toll of the disaster is about five times more than the official figures”, said Nawab Khan of the Bhopal  Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Morcha.


Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action said that they are giving the government one month’s time, which is more than sufficient time to review and rectify the figures of death and injury in the curative petition. He said that the organizations were well aware of the inconvenience that would be caused to ordinary people due to the indefinite rail roko and are inviting suggestions for other equally effective mass actions at # 9826167369. He however hopes that good sense will prevail upon the concerned state and central government officials so that rail roko was no longer necessary.


Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha appealed to all survivors of the disaster who has not received adequate compensation to join the petitions to the Prime Minister and Chief Minister on this issue. The petition which will be submitted to the central and state governments in the next fifteen days has already been signed by over 10,000 survivors, he said.

Rashida Bi,Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh

94256 88215

Nawab Khan,Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha


Balkrishna Namdeo,Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha


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


Safreen KhanChildren Against Dow Carbide



Contact: 44, Sant Kanwar Ram Nagar, Berasia Road, Bhopal, Web: www.bhopal.net

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Bhopal Gas Survivors Shut Down the Old City of Bhopal (Bandh) and ask the govt to provide correct figures on death and injury in the upcoming petition on additional compensation

October 11, 2011

Press Statement

The five survivors’ organizations who had given the call for today’s bandh (city wide shut down) congratulated the over half million survivors of the disaster for its success. They thanked the workers unions, traders associations and other survivors’ organizations as well political parties for their active support in organizing the city wide strike.

Rally in the middle off shut down chowk bazar in Bhopal

The organizations are demanding that the central and state governments present correct figures of death and the actual extent of injury caused by the disaster in the soon to be heard curative petition in the Supreme Court of India. Through the petition the governments are seeking compensation from Union Carbide, USA and its current owner Dow Chemical, USA.

On the basis of Union Carbide’s internal documents and findings of the decadal epidemiological research by the Indian Council of Medical Research, the survivors’ organizations are calling for a significant revision in the government’s assessment that 93% of those exposed to Union Carbide’s toxic gases suffered only temporary injury.

As part of the bandh all shops (other than medicine stores), restaurants, workshops  and other establishment were closed in the city and the main roads had no auto rickshaws or buses plying. The five survivors organizations said that they now plan to hold other protest actions on the same issue with voluntary and peaceful mass participation.

A rally was taken out by the organizers of the bandh from Peer Gate through the main commercial areas that was led by the survivors organizations and leaders of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nyaya Morcha and Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti as well representatives of Bhopal Transport Hammal Mazdoor Union and the Communist Party of India and Communist Party Marxist.

Rashida Bi,Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh94256 88215 Nawab Khan,Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha9302792493 Balkrishna Namdeo,Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha9826345423 Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,Bhopal Group for Information and Action9826167369 Safreen Khan Children Against Dow Carbide9303831487















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