US firm has lower regard for Indian lives: NRI writer

Press Trust of India, June 15, 2008
Indian-origin novelist Indra Sinha, who won the Commonwealth award for the best book in the European and Asian region, has severely criticised the US multinational Dow Chemicals for showing ”lower regard for Indian lives than for American ones.”
Sinha, who in March won honours for his novel ‘Animal’s People’ based on the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984 in which over 8,000 people died, has also flayed the Indian government for not dealing firmly with the US multinational.
Posting a scathing attack on his website stating ”Why I am joining the Bhopalis in their fight for Justice,” Sinha said the US multinational Dow Chemicals has lower regard for Indian lives than for American ones.
He said ”I have spent much of the last five years writing a novel in which victims of a chemical disaster caused by a rogue corporation are sold out by their own politicians, triggering a desperate hunger strike.”
”Why doesn’t the Indian government force Dow to clean up Bhopal? The Indian law ministry has advised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Dow is indeed liable for Union Carbide’s misdeeds in Bhopal. It’s exactly what he doesn’t wish to hear,” the novelist wrote on his website.
Sinha alleged that Singh and his ministers are in contortions to appease Dow, which has offered to invest USD 1 billion in India if freed from its Bhopal liabilities.
The author appealed to the prime minister ”to honour your promises made two years ago in relation to proper health care and monitoring for those affected by the gas and poisoned water, to obey the Supreme Court’s 2004 order to provide safe drinking water for communities whose water is poisoned and not to have business dealings with Union Carbide Corporation or its legal owners while the contempt of court continues.”

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