Even before US President Barack Obama landed in Mumbai, about a hundred survivors from the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy staged a demonstration outside the Union Carbide factory here, demanding to meet him in Delhi Nov 8.
The survivors and those affected by groundwater contamination caused by Union Carbide’s hazardous waste voiced their demand, saying Obama should ensure that both Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals obey Indian laws and abide by the decisions of Indian courts.
The survivors shouted slogans like, ‘Bhopal Mein Insaaf Nahi to Ameerki Vyayapr Nahi’ (If no justice in Bhopal, no business to US) and held posters like ‘IS BHO A PAL OF BHOPAL?’ — BHO being referred as the acronym of Barack Hussein Obama.
The demonstration started at 11:30 a.m. and lasted till 2 p.m. The survivors will hold a sit-in at Jantar Mantar in Delhi Nov 8.
Tonnes of poisonous methyl-iso-cyanate gas spewed out of the now-shut pesticide plant of Union Carbide India located in a congested part of Bhopal Dec 2-3 night in 1984, killing over 3,000 overnight.
In the years that followed, people exposed to the gas kept dying or suffered from life-long ailments and complications. The deaths in the world’s worst industrial disaster are believed to have mounted to about 25,000 over the years.
On June 7, a Bhopal court held seven officials of the Union Carbide India plant and the company itself guilty of criminal negligence and causing the industrial disaster.
But as the guilty were bailed out within minutes of the verdict, survivors and activists called it a mockery of justice. Dow Chemical is owner of Union Carbide since 2001.