Tag Archives: politicians

May sense and grace prevail upon Jairam Ramesh

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh came to Bhopal on July 5 to meet representatives of the Bhopal survivors organisations. During his last visit to Bhopal on September 14, 2009, he had picked up a piece of hazardous waste stored in the abandoned Union Carbide factory and somewhat like Hrithik Roshan in a Hide & Seek biscuits promo, declared it safe. Given this was completely contradictory to the findings of a dozen scientific studies by various agencies from 1990 to 2007, it was a classic case of foot-in-mouth syndrome, and in full view of the media too. SATINATH SARANGI of the BGIA writes:

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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.

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Vultures not quite extinct in India

More than 2000 Bhopal survivors and their supporters will demonstrate in Delhi on October 26 to protest against those who are trying to grab a share of the undistributed compensation fund that the Supreme Court has ruled belongs solely to the survivors of Union Carbide’s 1984 gas disaster.

At the head of the line with its hand out is the Madhya Pradesh government which until recently has been ignoring a Supreme Court to pipe clean water into areas whose wells have been poisoned by toxic chemicals abandoned at Carbide’s factory.

The Bharatiya Janata Party would like the survivors’ money to be distributed in parts of the city that were unaffected by the gas. As bhopal.net commented a few weeks ago, it would be a first, asking the Supreme Court to sponsor mass bribery of voters.

The most shamefully cynical application for a share of the survivors’s money comes from the Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust, established controversially by the sale of Union Carbide shares which had been seized by a Bhopal court following the corporation’s refusal to appear before it to face charges of culpable homicide. The Supreme Court justice who allowed sale of the shares against the wishes of survivors now sits on the board of trustees of the hospital.

Carbide’s hospital numbers among its facilities a swimming pool and other luxuries for staff, and expensive state-of-the-art operating theatres for heart surgery and other conditions which have nothing to do with the catastrophic health problems suffered by survivors. The reason is not far to seek, after 8 years it will be able to take lucrative private patients and as a BMHT PR lady incautiously admitted to a foreign visitor whom she imagined to be a sympathiser, “Frankly, we can’t wait for the day when we’ll no longer have to treat gas victims.”

The BMHT routinely turns away from its gates gas victims who have not the required paperwork and the practices in its four community clinics have been seriously questioned.

To put all this in perspective, even if the survivors get the money which is theirs by right, it will amount to something of the order of 5p a day for the 20 years over which they have been suffering and for many will not be enough to erase debts incurred paying medical expenses, nor to compensate for loss of livelihoods.

The treatment of the people of Bhopal by the corporation and a succession of Indian politicians has been shameful and inexcusable. Please do not stand by. Join with us in supporting the survivors in their long fight for justice. This website offers many ways to help.

October 24, 2004
Press Statement

Over 2000 survivors of the December 1984 Union Carbide disaster will take part in a rally at Jantar-Mantar, New Delhi on October 26 to press their demand for immediate distribution of the balance of compensation amount of over Rs. 1567 crores.

On the same day, the Supreme Court of India is expected to decide on the applications filed by the Madhya Pradesh Government, Bharatiya Janata Party, Bhopal Hospital Trust, Union of India and the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan with regard to the Supreme Court’s July 19th decision regarding distribution of the balance of compensation amount.

The survivors under the leadership of Rashida Bee, Champa Devi Shukla, Syed M Irfan and Shahid Noor will travel by four trains Pathankot Express, Dakshin Express, Malwa Express and Bhopal Express to register their protest against the parties responsible for causing delay in the distribution of the amount.

According to the survivors, the Bharatiya Janata Party is coming in the way of speedy distribution of compensation to the survivors by pushing for distribution of compensation to the residents of the 20 municipal wards that remained unaffected by the disaster.

The survivors’ leaders also expressed anger at the Madhya Pradesh government’s attempt to usurp part of the compensation money that rightfully belongs to the survivors. They also condemned the Bhopal Hospital Trust’s application before the Supreme Court seeking a share of the compensation money.

The leaders asserted the legal right of the survivors over the entire sum left after the distribution of compensation and called for immediate distribution of the amount in view of the dire need of the gas affected population.

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

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While politicians posture, people die

For more than 20,000 people who suffered terrible injuries on the night of poison two decades ago, recent Supreme Court decisions about clean water and distribution of compensation monies come too late. Those twenty thousand are the dead. In their case neither was justice done, nor any humanity shown. The company, whose actions by any civilised standard are beneath contempt, is scarcely less callous in its treatment of the victims than successive waves of Indian politicians in central and state governments. The Supreme Court issues orders, the politicians ignore them. Hence the clean water demo of two days ago that brought Bhopal to a halt.

Today, there is more news from the Supreme Court – issues regarding distribution of compensation money are likely soon to be resolved. But local BJP politicians, led by Chief Minister Gaur, who earlier today pledged to make Madhya Pradesh a “corruption-free” zone, are asking the Court to distribute the money to the whole city, rather than just to those injured for whom it was intended and to whom it has been for so many years denied. In the unlikely event that such a petition is granted, it would be the first instance of Supreme Court-funded voter bribery.

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

October 1, 2004
Press Statement

Addressing a press conference today, leaders of four organizations active on the issues of the December1984 Union Carbide disaster informed victims of the disaster that the Supreme Court of India is most likely to resolve all pending issues regarding the distribution of balance of compensation very soon. The leaders stated that at the hearing in the Supreme Court today, the judges have clearly reiterated that the balance of compensation money can only go to individual victims of the disaster.

The matters that were taken up by the Supreme Court in today’s hearing were the submission made by the Welfare Commissioner, Bhopal Gas Victims with regard to the mode of distribution of the balance of compensation. Representing petitioners Rashida Bee, Champa Devi Shukla and other victims, Advocate Mr. S Muralidhar argued for fair, simple and speedy distribution of the compensation amount. According to Mr. Muralidhar the court would like to hear the case at length with a view to resolving all questions at the next hearing of Supreme Court on October 26, 2004.

Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla from the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh who initiated the move for distribution of balance of compensation in March 2003 said that five applications have been filed in the matter by various agencies. The parties that have filed these applications are: Union of India, State of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust, Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] and Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan [BGPMUS]. However, the Supreme Court has not issued any notice on these applications despite plea by respective lawyers. The Court will decide whether or not to entertain them at the next hearing on 26th October.

The application by the Union of India has sought clarification on the implementation of the July 19, 2004 decision of the Supreme Court regarding compensation distribution. The application by the State of Madhya Pradesh has sought Rs. 600 Crores from the balance of compensation fund for long-term medical care and economic and environmental rehabilitation. The application by the Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust has sought release of the balance moneys out of the sale of the attached shares and for further funds for carrying out its obligations to provide medical relief to gas victims beyond 2005.

The petition filed by the Madhya Pradesh unit of the BJP has sought the inclusion of the residents of the 20 unaffected wards among the recipients of the balance of compensation fund. The Petition filed jointly by the BGPMUS and the Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti has called for a re-examination of the inadequacies of the Bhopal settlement of 1989.

Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Syed M Irfan, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Shahid Noor, Bhopal ki Aawaaz
Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra, Bhopal Group for Information and Action

Contact :
House No. 12, Gali No. 2, Near Naseer Masjid, Bag Umrao Dulha, Bhopal Tel: 3132298
B-2 / 302, Sheetal Nagar, Berasia Road, Bhopal. Tel: 9826167369
For more information please visit www.bhopal.net

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Over 50 UK M.P.s support the ICJB

On the 24th March Halifax M.P. Alice Mahon filed Early Day Motion 933 in the UK parliament in support of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal’s efforts to make Dow and Union Carbide face up to their moral and legal responsibilities in Bhopal. The motion also applauds the ICJB’s efforts on the extradition of Warren Anderson, mentioning the work of the Sambhavna clinic. To date, 53 M.P.s have signed onto it. See the full list of signatories and text of the EDM here.

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