22 Bhopal gas tragedy survivors granted bail

June 19th, 2008 - 10:35 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) Twenty-two Bhopal gas tragedy survivors including 20 women were granted bail by a city court Thursday, 10 days after they were arrested for protesting near Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s office. Special Magistrate J.M. Malik granted bail to the protestors on condition that they should not repeat such an action in future that violates peace.

“We are happy that our colleagues who were languishing in Tihar jail for 10 days were given bail today,” said Satinath Sarangi, an activist protesting along with nearly 100 gas leak tragedy survivors in the capital.

The Bhopal gas tragedy, often cited as the world’s worst industrial disaster, took place on the intervening night of Dec 2-3, 1984. A Union Carbide pesticide plant leaked over 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas, killing at least 3,800 people and affecting thousands more.

Legal action against Dow Chemical, which now owns Union Carbide, has been one of the main demands of the survivors.

The survivors’ representatives are protesting at Jantar Mantar here for over two months and have decided that they will not leave the city before Manmohan Singh meets them and accepts their demands.

On Thursday, a group of social activists and intellectuals headed by justice (retired) Rajindar Sachar and Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Kamal Mitra Chenoy called upon the government to take immediate steps to address the problem.

Terming the government’s inaction on the demands of the Bhopal victims as a “blot on Indian democracy”, they asked the government: “Why are Union Carbide, Dow Chemical and Warren Anderson (company head at the time of the diaster) being treated differently from any other person accused of a crime?”

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