Activists and survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy on Tuesday held a candlelight vigil in Bhopal to protest the two-year jail term to the Union Carbide officials found guilty for the disaster, and resolved to continue their fight for justice.
Hundreds of people gathered in front of the now defunct Union Carbide Corporation’s pesticide plant, which spelt one of the worst industrial disasters of the world, and vowed to fight unitedly for the cause of the survivors.
“We will not be bogged down by the court’s verdict, which is the biggest judicial disaster of independent India. We will fight till the end and see to it that all the accused, including the foreigners, are punished,” said Abdul Jabbar of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udhyog Sangatha.
The candlelight vigil was held jointly by several organisations working to get justice for the victims, including the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA) and Children Against Dow Carbide.
“CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) or no CBI, we will see that the culprits are brought to book. We will leave no stone unturned to see that those who died and those who are living get justice at any cost,” said Rachna Dhingra of BGIA.
Tonnes of lethal gas leaked from the Union carbide’s pesticide plant in Bhopal on the night of Dec 2-3, 1984, killing about 3,500 instantly and thousands later.
A court here Monday held the Union Carbide India Ltd and seven of its officials guilty of criminal negligence and sentenced the officials to two years’ imprisonment. The seven were later released on bail.
Activists said the verdict, which comes 25 years after the tragedy, has dealt a big blow to the survivors who were waiting for harsh punishment to those responsible for the disaster.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan termed as “inadequate” the present laws dealing with industrial safety and security in the light of the Bhopal gas tragedy verdict.
“The present laws are inadequate in dealing with the tragedy of the nature of world’s worst industrial disaster. The quantum of punishment in this case is too little and laws should be amended to ensure maximum punishment to the guilty persons in such sensitive cases,” he said in a statement.