Urgent Action: Fast-Without-Water for Justice in Bhopal

Day 1, 18 June 2004

Rashida Bee, Shahid Noor and Satinath Sarangi from Bhopal today launched their fast-without-water at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi braving a 40 degree celsius heatwave.

Champa Devi, who along with Rashida Bee received the 2004 Goldman Environment Prize, was unable to undertake the fast because of her high blood pressure and weak health.

More than 400 survivors from Bhopal attended the launch of the fast in Delhi.

Besides seven media people who visited the Satyagraha, the hunger strikers were paid a visit by Swami Agnivesh who promised to raise the matter with Ram Vilas Paswan and the Law Minister, Mr Bharadwaj. Agnivesh said the silence from the side of the Government was very puzzling, and causes one to wonder if the Government wasn’t once again selling out the interests of the people to protect the US multinational from liability.

Another NGO activist who is in close communication with Chemicals Minister Paswan said that his attempts to secure an appointment with Paswan had, for the first time, met with no response. He too said he feels that there is something very irregular in the Government’s silence and refusal to submit a letter to the New York court.

Justice (retd) Krisha Iyer has already submitted to the Prime Minister a legal note stating that the Bhopal Act and the 1989 settlement do not address Union Carbide’s liability on the issue of contamination and toxic wastes. A copy of this letter will be available tomorrow.

Advocates Indira Jaisingh and Rajeev Dhawan have also indicated their support for the survivors’ demands and will submit their opinion to the Prime Minister and the Chemicals Minister.

NEXT STEPS:

On 22 June 2004, the Bhopalis will hold a round table discussion with trade unions.

On 23 June 2004 the Prime Minister has a meeting with trade unions where we hope the Bhopal issue will also be dealt with.
People are requested to get on the phone and call the Prime Minister or Chemical Minister Paswan and ask them to submit the letter and end the waterless-fast by the Bhopalis.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Office: +91 11 23012312 or 23018939
Fax: +91 11 23016857
Parliament: +91 11 23017660, Fax: +91 11 23014255
Home: +91 11 23018939, Fax: +91 11 23019334

Chemicals Minister Ram Vilas Paswan
Tel: +91 11 23386519,23386364, Fax +91 11 23015511
Email:mincf.cpc@sb.nic.in cc jsc.cpc@sb.nic.in

If you are in the US please call:
Mr Ashok Tomar, New York Consul General
Tel: 212 774 0600, Fax: 212 734 4980

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