Bhopal gas disaster survivors and their special children ask five questions to PM Modi and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan

The campaign called “paanch guhaar” took off with children with congenital malformations born to gas-affected parents pleading for attention from the highest officials.

Published: 21st November 2017 11:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd November 2017 09:28 AM   |  A+A-

Bhopal gas disaster survivors have launched from Tuesday a novel way to draw much-needed attention to their five most urgent issues of rehabilitation, justice and adequate compensation. | Express Photo Service

By Express News Service

BHOPAL: Awaiting a rendezvous with country’s Prime Minister and Madhya Pradesh chief minister, the 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster victims and their special children asked five questions to the duo leaders at Shahjani Park here on Tuesday.

“When will get proper compensation, health care and complete rehabilitation, treatment of toxic waste still present in the closed Union Carbide factory, treatment of contaminated water in area contiguous to the closed factory and severe punishment to those guilty for the 1984 disaster,” asked 55-year-old Resham Bai, a resident of city’s JP Nagar area who lost her husband and young son in the December 1984 disaster.

Similar questions were asked by 15-year-old physically challenged Mohd Zaid, while sitting in the lap of her helpless mother. “Please tell us Modiji, when will complete justice be rendered to us in form of proper compensation, health care and rehabilitation,” questioned Zaid before the two cut-outs/portraits of PM Modi and CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan put up under the banner reading ‘2011 aur 2014 se apke darshan ke abhilashi Union Carbide pidit parivar.’

According to Rachna Dhingra, representative of Bhopal Group for Information and Action ( one of the five organizations working for rights of the Bhopal gas disaster victims) after the Rail Roko Andolan in 2011, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan had assured to meet all our pending demands pertaining to proper compensation, rehabilitation and medical health and care.

“The CM had also promised that he’ll ensure our meeting with Prime Minister. We know that he could not keep his promise about our meeting with the then PM as it was UPA PM Manmohan Singh who was in power. But since then six years have gone, but our CM has failed to arrange a meeting even with present PM Narendra Modi, who is power in New Delhi since 2014,” said Dhingra.

It’s owing to this that Bhopal gas disaster survivors have launched from Tuesday a novel way to draw much-needed attention to their five most urgent issues of rehabilitation, justice and adequate compensation. The campaign called “paanch guhaar” took off with children with congenital malformations born to gas-affected parents pleading for attention from the highest officials before large portraits of the current Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, said Dhingra.

Moving images of the children pleading for medical care, social and economic rehabilitation, adequate compensation, the punishment of the culprits and clean up of lingering poisons in soil and groundwater were then sent through Twitter to the two leaders by a team of cyber activists of the younger generation of the survivors.

 The portraits of the two officials will be carried to different areas of the city affected by the December 1984 gas disaster and those where the groundwater is poisoned with hazardous waste from the Union Carbide factory that caused the disaster. The “paanch guhaar” campaign will continue till the 33rd anniversary of the disaster on December 3, 2017.

As per Rashida Bi, head of Gas Pidit Mahila Stationary Karamchari Sangh, who has been running the Chingari trust since 2006 for children born with congenital mental and physical deformities (abnormalities existent since birth) to victims of gas disaster, “around 800 children born to couples affected by Bhopal gas tragedy and aftermath need urgent medical care. But we’re only able to cater to requirements of 200 of them due to fund crunch. Our centre has experts of speech and physiotherapy, counsellors to take care of the needs of these special children. We’ve also got corrective surgeries done to over 20 children,” said Rashida Bi. 

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