Update death toll in gas tragedy: Bhopal survivors

October 17th, 2011 - 5:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Bhopal, Oct 17 (IANS) Survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster have threatened a rail blockade if the state and central governments do not present correct figures of injury and death in a soon-to-be-heard curative petition in the Supreme Court.

At a press conference Monday, five organizations of survivors of the Union Carbide tragedy said they would hold a peaceful ‘Rail Roko’ if their demand for ensuring adequate compensation to all victims of the disaster was not met within one month.

The curative petition is expected to come up in the Supreme Court later this month or in November.

“All we are asking is that the government present figures of injury and death based on the report of the Indian Council of Medical Research on the health impact of the disaster,” said Nawab Khan of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Morcha.

“These findings show that the majority of gas victims are permanently and not temporarily injured and the death toll of the disaster is about five times more than the official figures.”

On the intervening night of Dec 2-3, 1984, tonnes of methyl isocyanate gas had leaked from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, leading to the death of 3,000 instantly and 25,000 over the years. Over 500,000 people have been affected so far.

However, the government presented a figure of 5,295 deaths.

Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action said they were giving the government one month’s time, which is more than sufficient to review and rectify the figures in the curative petition.

He said the organisations were aware of the inconvenience that would be caused to ordinary people due to the indefinite rail roko and are inviting suggestions for other equally effective mass action.

The survivors have also sent letters to the group of ministers (GOM) and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on the planned rail roko stir.

Later, a petition signed by survivors will be sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chouhan.

“So far more than 10,000 survivors have signed and more survivors who feel they did not get adequate compensation will sign it,” said Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha.

On Oct 11, the survivors had called a day-long shutdown in the city to press the same demand.

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