Daily News Archive
February 13, 2006
Will March 900 Kilometers to Delhi for Justice
(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2006) On
February 20, 2006, 150 survivors of the December 1984 Union Carbide
disaster in Bhopal will begin marching on foot to New Delhi demanding
justice and a life of dignity for the people poisoned by American multinational
Union Carbide Corporation. The march is being organized by four Bhopal
based organizations (Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari
Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group
for Information and Action and Bhopal ki Aawaaz) and will also include
people affected by ground water contamination from Union Carbide’s
abandoned factory in Bhopal.
The Bhopal marchers are expecting to reach New Delhi by the last week
of March where they will seek to have a meeting with the Prime Minister.
Depending on the response from the central government, the marchers
may go on an indefinite fast at the end of their 900 kilometer long
march. There have been others who resulted to fasting in their quest
for justice as a result of the Union Carbide disaster. In May 2003,
Bhopal survivors and leaders of the trade union Bhopal Gas Affected
Women Stationery Workers Association, and long-time Bhopal activist
Satinath Sarangi, launched a fast at a demonstration in New York's financial
district in their demand for justice (See Daily
News). The four Bhopal based organizations have a six-point charter
of demands to present to the Prime Minister.
According to a press statement issued by the Bhopal based organizations,
the first demand of the marchers consists of setting up a National Commission
on Bhopal that will include the necessary authority and funds to provide
for health care facilities, economic rehabilitation, medical research
and social support. The groups are calling for active participation
of non-government doctors and scientists and representatives of survivors’
organization in the National Commission and they want it to function
for at least the next thirty years. The most urgent demand in their
six- point charter is the supply of piped water from Kolar reservoir
in the 16 communities affected by toxic contamination of ground water.
In their meeting with the Prime Minister, the marchers will demand the
creation of a Special Cell in the Central Investigation Bureau for speedy
prosecution of the Union Carbide Corporation, Warren Anderson and others
accused in the criminal case for the December 1984 disaster. They are
also planning to call upon the central government to ensure scientific
assessment of the depth and spread of toxic contamination and to make
Union Carbide’s current owner, The Dow Chemical Company, pay compensation
for the health and environmental damage caused as a result of their
reckless dumping of chemical wastes.
The Bhopal campaigners are also demanding that the government stop purchasing
Dow Chemical’s Dursban
brand insecticide and other products until they accept the pending liabilities
of Bhopal. The survivors are also marching to demand that the central
government declare December 3rd as a National Day of Mourning for victims
of industrial disasters and include the impacts of the disaster in educational
New Delhi based supporters of the Bhopal survivors are planning to convey
the demands of the marchers to the Central government on a daily basis
until their demands are met. Nationwide supporters of the Bhopal campaign
are planning rallies, meetings and signature campaigns in solidarity
with the Delhi Padyatra. International supporters in the United States,
Europe, Japan and other countries will take part in actions and demonstrations
before Indian embassies abroad.
The actual route for the Delhi Padyatra has been chalked out with a
view to making connections that identify the other pollution- impacted
communities along the way. The marchers also plan to organize poster
exhibitions, film screenings and public meetings in an on-going effort
to generate awareness around the need for justice in Bhopal and for
prevention of corporate crime everywhere.
For additional stories on the disaster in Bhopal by Beyond Pesticides
see: Hunger Strike Calls Attention to
Horror and Death in Bhopal. Two
Women Survivors of Bhopal disaster On Hunger Strike/Photo Stories.
Culture of Make Believe.
For the latest
information on the Bhopal disaster visit www.bhopal.net