Bhopal gas tragedy survivors continue protest

May 30th, 2008 - 4:48 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) A day after the Prime Minister’s office issued a statement meeting one of their key demands, the Bhopal gas tragedy victims have decided to continue their protest here until all their demands have been met. “We will continue our dharna (protest) until the rest of our key demands have been met,” said Satinath Sarangi, one of the key activists associated with the cause for a long time.

The Bhopal gas leak holocaust, frequently cited as the world’s worst industrial disaster, took place in 1984. A Union Carbide pesticide plant leaked over 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas, killing at least 3,800 people and affecting many more in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

The Prime Minister’s office Thursday issued a statement saying that they agreed to the protestors’ demand of setting up a commission to carry out medical, economic, social and environmental rehabilitation of the Bhopal gas tragedy victims.

The statement, however, did not take a stand on legal action against Union Carbide and its former chairperson Warren Anderson - both face charges of culpable homicide and grievous assault. Anderson is absconding from Indian courts since 1992.

“The statement also doesn’t mention about the approved collaboration between Reliance Industries and Dow Chemicals for the transfer of Union Carbide-owned and patented technology, which is not legal and should be revoked,” Sarangi said.

“The Prime Minister’s office has assured us that a decision on our other demands will be made after a consultation June 3. Until then, we will continue our protests in the capital,” he added.

On any given day, nearly 70-80 people, many of whom have walked from Bhopal to Delhi, sit on the protest in the capital’s Jantar Mantar area. At times the number reaches even 200.

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