“What About Swachh Bhopal?” – Chennaiites Ask Prime Minister

PRESS RELEASE: 10 November, 2014

CHENNAI — Even as five Bhopal gas victims began a waterless hunger strike in Delhi today, the Bhopal campaign’s Chennai supporters declared at a press conference that it was unfortunate that survivors of the worst industrial disaster are waiting for compensation, medical rehabilitation and justice even 30 years after the event. Chennai supporters for the Bhopal campaign also asked the Government of India to prioritise Swachh Bhopal (Clean Bhopal) as part of Swachh Bharat (Clean India) campaign and force Dow Chemical to clean up the toxic contaminated site in Bhopal. The press conference launched a week-long exhibit on Bhopal. The exhibit commemorates 30 years of struggle for justice in Bhopal and showcases two objects of deep personal memory from the night of the disaster and from the protest movement. The exhibits have been donated to the Remember Bhopal Trust which is setting up a People’s Museum in Bhopal to showcase how contemporary India’s most traumatic industrial catastrophe has raised extraordinary questions about justice, industrial expansion, environment and international corporate crime.

The objects on display include:

1. A child’s jumper donated by Bismillah Bee. “Bismillah Bee fled in panic, clutching her three- year-old son Sajid Ali tightly to her chest, trying to escape the plume of poisonous gas that fateful night. She does not remember how long she ran, or in which direction. “Had he been alive, he would be married today, with children of his own,” she said, handing Sajjad’s peach-coloured sweater to the Remember Bhopal museum volunteers.

2. Children Against Dow Carbide, a group comprising third generation adolescent children of gas-affected people staged their first dramatic protest in 2008 by chaining themselves to the residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. They demanded a speedy clean-up of toxic wastes and clean water for the neighbourhoods that were forced to consume contaminated water. The chains and locks used by the children are now artefacts in the museum. Prof. Vasanthi Devi, former vice-chancellor Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, writer and social commentator Gnani and Nityanand Jayaraman of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal addressed the press conference. The exhibits were hosted by Studio Palazzo, an art gallery, and Silk Route, a boutique in Harrington Road, Chetpet.

For more information, contact:
Nityanand Jayaraman – 9444082401
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal
No. 92, Thiruvalluvar Nagar 3rd
Cross, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090

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