Survivors’ Demo in Delhi Marks 38th Anniversary of Bhopal Gas Tragedy

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Hundreds of detonators hold a sit-in at Jantar Mantar demanding that the government should come out with accurate figures of deaths and health hazards due to the disaster.

Pervez Bari | Clarion India

BHOPAL – Marking the 38th Anniversary of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, hundreds of survivors of the Union Carbide Gas Disaster of 3 December 1984 demonstrated at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Saturday demanding that the government should come out with accurate figures of deaths and health hazards due to the disaster, according to reports.

A petition signed by 40,000 survivors of the tragedy demands correction in their curative petition for additional compensation to be heard by the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court of India on January 10th, 2023.

A senior advocate fighting the case for Bhopal survivors, Karuna Nundy, and Dalit labour rights activist, Nodeep Kaur, among other eminent personalities and concerned citizens joined the struggle of survivors at the Jantar Mantar that resonating the venue with the demand for justice for the survivors.

A delegation consisting of Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group of Information and Action Shahzadi Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sanghrash Morcha and Rashida Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karmachari Sangh, met Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya and apprised him of their current situation and submitted a set of documents, showing actual figures of death and fatalities, legal basis for their demand for revised relief package memorandum of demands.

The documents also include affidavit on Morbidity and Mortality caused by the exposure of Methyl Iso-cynate in Bhopal by Dr. Swarup Sarkar, a public health expert who has worked in senior positions in the Government of India, UN agencies and other international institutions and demanded that these documents should be included in the joint compilation that will be filed before Supreme Court of India.

Meanwhile, Rashida Bee, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, said: “93 per cent of the Bhopal survivors have been assigned in temporary injury category and have been given only 25 thousand rupees as compensation. This is the kind of injustice that the Manmohan Singh government sought to remedy when it filed the Curative Petition in 2010 for additional compensation from the American corporations. However, justice cannot be done till the figures of death and extent of injuries caused by the disaster are revised by the present Madhya Pradesh Government.”

“As per official records, 95 per cent of the gas victims are diagnosed with cancer and 97 per cent with fatal kidney injuries have been considered to have suffered only temporary injury due to the disaster. This fact alone demonstrates how injuries of Bhopal victims have been downplayed in the court”, said Balkrishna Namdeo, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogee Sangharsh Morcha.

“The current Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan had written to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the injuries of the Bhopal victims were permanent injuries and not temporary, as presented in the Curative Petition. However, the state government is yet to reiterate that before the Supreme Court”, he said.

According to Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information & Action said: “The Madhya Pradesh government has stated in the Supreme Court, in another matter, that 15,242 people died as a result of the Bhopal Gas Disaster. However, the state government failed to take steps to revise the inaccurate figure of 5295 deaths presented in the Curative Petition”.

“How can justice be done if the judges of the Supreme Court are not made aware of the true extent of the damages caused by the disaster?” she asked.

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Photo: Bhopal Gas Tragedy survivors of the Union Carbide Gas Disaster of 3rd December 1984 demonstrating at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Saturday.

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