On 5 March 2006, ex-workers from Hindustan Lever’s now-closed mercury thermometer factory held a demonstration in solidarity with the Bhopalis on the 5th anniversary of their struggle against the multinational. They are demanding long-term health care and research, and livelihood rehabilitation. All workers were exposed to dangerous levels of mercury in the workplace.
On 9 March, children (12 years and under) began their daily staging of a street play on pollution at the Besant Nagar beach.
Young artists and supporters of Bhopal (our street play team – children from Orur Kuppam in Besant Nagar)
The five minute play talks about the sorry condition of the beach and the sea, and links it to the Bhopal padayatra and the incident through a commentary. At the end of the play, we request people to sign a banner.
Our complete team inckuding adults (special – our banner with the march logo where people are signing, this banner will be sent to the Indian PM)
10 March: Today, 8 youth from We Feel Responsible will meet the Governor of Tamilnadu and deliver a piece of their minds and a banner with signatures addressed to the PM.
A kid signing the banner in support the march
On 16 March, supporters of the Bhopal struggle will take out a rally in Chennai with actors in costumes enacting dance-dramas.
Chennai youth meet the Governor of Tamil Nadu demanding justice for Bhopal
Seven members of the Chennai based youth collective We Feel Responsible met the Governor of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Surjit Singh Barnala today. In a brief conversation which lasted about 15 minutes he was briefed about the Bhopal walk, the present situation in Bhopal and the purpose of our meeting with him.
We told him about the significance of the march and our stand on the issue as youth. He seemed pretty unperturbed and when we were briefing him about the demands he started with a story about him at the time of the disaster. He was at a jail “under arrest” (he did not tell us for what but I did some online search and am assuming that it was due to the Sikh Riots that ensued the assassination of Indira Gandhi in October1984) about 60kms from ground zero and he said he smelt something strange in the air and told the jailor about it but none of them realized until later that it was the gas from Union Carbide.
On the issue of compensation and health he said that UCC had already paid a heavy sum as compensation immediately and also built the best hospital in Madhya Pradesh. He appreciated our effort that went into the signature campaign for the petition to the Prime Minister and suggested that we present the banner with signatures to the PM directly as he was sure that it would not reach him if sent through him. He refused to sign on the petition.
We presented him some literature on Bhopal and a copy of ‘Closer to Reality’ a Bhopal film by the Delhi based youth group, We for Bhopal. He wished us all the best in our endeavor and promised to forward the petition to the Prime Minister.
A seven-member delegation including Anthony, Harini, Saravanan, Someetharan, Senthil, Seena and Dharmesh presented the petition.