Bhopal gas tragedy survivors sit-in to move to Delhi

January 20th, 2012 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhopal, Jan 20 (IANS) The survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy Friday suspended their 18-day sit-in here to protest inadequate compensation and announced they would soon shift it to Delhi.

Five local organisations working for the victims condemned the inhuman and unjust attitude of both the central and Madhya Pradesh governments towards them.

“The process of revising figures of damage to get additional compensation from Union Carbide and Dow Chemical has begun with regard to the state government’s curative petition in the Supreme Court but the central government is still trying to let the American corporations go off lightly,” Bhopal Gas Peedit Stationery Karmchari Sangh president Rashida Bee said.

On the night of Dec 2-3, 1984, tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked from the Union Carbide’s pesticides plant in Bhopal, killing several thousand people.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had estimated that by 1997 over 15,000 people had succumbed in the tragedy, but in court the government only spoke of 5,295 deaths.

The organisations now plan to hold indefinite sit-in in Delhi to pressurise the central government for revising figures of deaths and injuries caused by the one of the worst industrial disasters of the world.

They charged Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan with going back on his publicly-stated promise of setting up an independent inquiry into the incident of violence during demonstrations on the 27th anniversary of the disaster Dec 3, last year.

The organisations alleged that by charging 2,000 gas victims with murderous assault and other severe offences, the state government was criminalising their legitimate demand for legal rights to adequate compensation.

“This is like Chhattisgarh where the state government is putting ‘adivasis’ (tribals) in jail for resisting land grab by corporations,” said Balkrishna Namdeo, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha.

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