Tag Archives: Olympics

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”.


 

Click image for more details

 

 

Look at it another way:


 

Click image for more information

 

 

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

PM urged to protest Dow sponsorship for Olympics

Express News Service , The New Indian Express
Posted on Aug 12, 2011 at 10:32am IST

CHENNAI: Victims and survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy have written to the Prime Minister asking him to register his protest with the UK government for accepting Dow Chemical’s sponsorship for the 2012 Olympics to be held in London.
Social activists, including from Chennai, and the survivors have shot off a similar letter to the Indian Olympic Association too.
They are also readying a petition to be signed by Olympians asking the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to reject the sponsorship.
Dow Chemicals, which bought the Union Carbide factory in 2001, refuses to accept the legal liability inherited from the takeover. Dow, which is the Worldwide Olympic Partner and the official chemistry company of the Olympic movement, will produce a sustainable ‘wrap’ that will surround the Olympic Stadium. It will be design ed by international design practice agency, Populous.
“The sponsorship of Dow Chemicals is against the sp irit of the Olympics charter,” said Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action.
“Olympics charter speaks about prohibition of racism but the company that provides sponsorship for the event practices racism in its business,” she said. While Dow Chemicals has accepted to the legal liabilities of Union Carbide in the US, it refuses to accept liabilities in India, she said. “Isn’t this racism?” she asked.
According to Rachna, Dow has settled liabilities of asbestos-related pollution and health problems in 10 different instances in the United Staters.
Meanwhile, tonnes of toxic waste continue to pollute Bhopal’s water and environment.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Indian protests planned over Olympics sponsor

10-Aug-2011
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/4b245556-c2ae-11e0-8cc7-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1UhNtIsb2
By Vanessa Kortekaas in London and Girija Shivakumar in New Delhi
Anger is mounting in India at the appointment of Dow Chemical as a 2012 Olympics sponsor, marking the fiercest criticism yet of the London committee’s sponsorship programme.
The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Locog) recently selected Dow to produce a sustainable fabric “wrap” for the Olympic stadium that will display digital images. This is Dow’s first engagement with the 2012 games since signing a 10-year agreement with the International Olympic Committee last year to become a worldwide Olympic partner.
However, activists such as Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Action and Information say that allowing Dow to sponsor the London Olympics “legitimises” the company’s links to the 1984 Bhopal chemical disaster, which killed at least 8,000 people.
In 1999 Dow Chemical bought Union Carbide – the company that was running the plant in India when a gas leak quickly became one of the world’s worst industrial accidents. Locog has stressed that “it is a matter of record that the plant at the time of this human tragedy was not owned by Dow Chemical”.
But campaigners, who put the death toll from the accident as high as 25,000, say they are planning protests in Bhopal, New Delhi and London. They are also asking the Indian government to officially protest against Locog’s decision.
Activists from the Bhopal Group for Action and Information are on Thursday sending a letter to Manmohan Singh, Indian prime minister, and the IOC, asking for their support.
Mannish Tiwari, a Congress party MP in India, said if the families of Bhopal victims approached the government with concerns about Dow’s role in the Olympics, it would “surely” look into the matter.
Activists are circulating a petition among athletes in India proposing to boycott the 2012 Olympics if Dow retains its sponsorship – a move which is said to have drawn support from former world hockey champion, Aslam Sher Khan.
Vinuta Gopal, a campaigner for Greenpeace India, the environmental lobby group, said: “When Dow Chemical has not addressed their responsibilities in Bhopal they simply should not be associated with an event like the Olympics.”
Locog said that Dow was only appointed as the supplier of the estimated £7m Olympic stadium wrap after a “rigorous procurement process”, adding: “All of our suppliers must work within our own sustainable sourcing code and reflect our values and sustainability requirements.”
Dow Chemical said: “Although Dow never owned nor operated the plant and the legal claims surrounding the incident were resolved in 1989, long before Dow acquired Union Carbide, we – along with the rest of industry – have learned from this tragic event, and have helped to drive global industry performance improvements to ensure that such incidents never happen again. While the past must never be forgotten, our position as a Worldwide Olympic Partner represents our vision for the future.”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail