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01 December, 2009

Bhopal: mourn the dead, fight for the living

Thursday (December 3) is the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy, the world’s biggest industrial disaster.

Justice has eluded the victims of the tragedy all these years despite prolonged legal action in India and the United States. About 3,500 died. Half a million people are still suffering from the after-effects of the gas leak.

In solidarity with Bhopal’s Campaign for Justice, human rights activists in many places are organizing candle light vigil between 5 and 7 p.m. on that day to mourn for the dead and fight for the living.

In Chennai the programme is at Gandhi Statue, Marina; in Bangalore at Gandhi Statue, M.G.Road.

In the small hours of the fateful day, 27 tons of highly toxic gas (MIC) leaked out of a storage tank from the Union Carbide Company’s pesticide factory in Bhopal leaving thousands of people dead and several thousand more maimed for life and generations to come.

For the survivors, it has been a battle against huge corporations who are escaping the liabilities through devious means and against governments who are clearly out to protect the corporations. An out-of-court settlement for a paltry compensation, severe ground water contamination, hiding of critical information needed to treat victims properly, bribery, stoppage of a scientific investigation, etc are just some of the series of misdeeds of the companies, governments and officials that have been unearthed during the 25-year-old struggle.

As the fight for justice continues, supporters around the world remember Bhopal, its victims and its heroes on the anniversary of the tragedy – drawing strength from its struggle, renewing the inspiration to continue fighting for justice – for Bhopal and for many other Bhopals.

Survivors of the disaster are now on a weeklong protest fast at Bhopal. See report.

The International Campaign for Justice for Bhopal (ICJB) and Students for Bhopal (SfB) are two organizations which are striving to keep the memory of Bhopal alive.

ICJB is a coalition of disaster survivors and environmental, social justice, progressive Indian, and human rights groups, who have joined forces to hold the Indian government and Dow Chemical Corporation, which now owns UCC, accountable for the ongoing chemical disaster.

SfB is a network of students, young professionals and activists working in solidarity with the survivors of the disaster in their struggle for justice. It uses education, grassroots organizing and non-violent direct action to pressure Dow Chemical and the Indian government to uphold the Bhopalis' demand for justice, and their fundamental human right to live free of chemical poison.

SfB's motto is: We all live in Bhopal and we will not rest without justice in Bhopal!

More info at and

Shweta Narayan – 094440 24315
Archanaa Seker – 098405 23235

Dow Chemicals acquired the Union Carbide Company eight years ago. On the 20th anniversary of the disaster, Dow formally accepted responsibility for the disaster.

Union Carbide has opened a Bhopal website to present its side. It claims the chemical industry has since the disaster “worked to voluntarily develop and implement strict safety and environmental standards to help ensure that an incident of this type never occurs again”.

1 comment:

Prem Nizar Hameed said...

Bhopal tragedy reveals that human beings are the cheapest commodity in the world. We have a system that always susceptible to Temple & Mosque syndrome. Netas and babus are least bothered about our basic problem like this. More than 15,000 people killed with many hundreds suffering from blindness to cancer is not at all a case of shaking their conscience. Bhopal victims are no longer vote bank items. And our democratic spine is more flexible to prostrate before the multinationals and imperialism. Can the UN intervene and make a permanent solution for these poor people?

Believe it, people here take care of the polluted water
How can they hold breath, till filtering the whole city?
On the air, still there is toxic methyl isocyanate,
Poison Plant stores tones of chemical waste and
A range of diseases from blindness to cancer;
Law & Justice were the first victims of the tragedy here.