Following the public outcry after the derisory June 7 sentencing of the Indian accused in the Bhopal court, an alarmed government quickly set up a Group of Ministers on Bhopal (GoM). The group included some of Dow Chemical’s biggest friends in government, plus Madhya Pradesh minister Babulal Gaur who during his tenure both as MP Chief Minister and Minister of Gas Relief had done nothing whatever to help the victims.
The Bhopal survivors hoped that the GoM would reaffirm the decision of its predecessor in the last government, in 2008, to set up an Empowered Commission on Bhopal with the powers and funding to address the very real problems that continue to plague the survivors. The present Dow-friendly GoM however announced a package of decisions designed to soothe public anger, but which let Dow off the hook and did not address most of the problems.
The Bhopal survivors therefore decided to come once again to Delhi and sit in dharna at Jantar Mantar to make sure the Prime Minister and his government keep their promises of 2006 and 2008, and take real and firm action against the multinational corporations involved.