Several Bhopalis and supporters, including Champa Devi, Shahid Noor, Sathyu and Rachna met with Ram Vilas Paswan, the Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers at 5 p.m. The meeting was productive enough that the group has decided to postpone any hunger strike until after a meeting with the Prime Minister himself, a meeting which is anticipated some time next week.
Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister for Chemicals
Minister Paswan with the Bhopali delegation
TV interview after the meeting
After meeting with Mr. Paswan, the representative group had a meeting with Mr. Oscar Fernandes, who presently handles three ministerial portfolios and heads the party’s Central Election Authority. The meeting was very positive, Mr. Fernandes has agreed to forward our request for an appointment with the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Bhopalis and their supporters sat at Jantar Mantar. Across the street is a large group of people displaced by the huge Narmada dam project in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh. At one point this evening, some of them came over and performed a special dance for the Bhopalis. There is a strong sense that we are strongly connected and fighting a single, broader problem – putting corporations and profits over human lives, of governments like India’s handing over the fate of its poorest citizens to the highest bidders.
Narmada activists and supporters came to visit the Bhopalis and sang and danced for them, the two campaigns have always been close allies and good friends
Then the Bhopalis danced for the Narmadans
For the first time tonight, everyone is sleeping on the street, in the spot where they sat all day, at Jantar Mantar. There will be another meeting in the morning to discuss where to go from here.
First night on the pavement at Jantar Mantar, Delhi
Sathyu relaxes after a hard day at the Ministry