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Bhopal Gas Disaster: Fearing Union Carbide’s imminent escape from criminal liability, organizations of survivors write to PM Modi

Leaders of organizations working for the cause of the survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster plan to campaign against the ruling BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls across the country.

Published: 01st April 2018 01:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st April 2018 01:06 AM   |  A+A-

Survivors of the Bhopal Gas tragedy (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

BHOPAL: Leaders of organizations working for the cause of the survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster plan to campaign against the ruling BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls across the country, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi, if the government doesn’t take immediate steps to prevent the US corporation from escaping criminal liability.

Representatives of the organizations, including Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karmchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information and Action  and the Children Against Dow Carbide expressed distress on Saturday at the apathy of the state and central governments towards the imminent possibility of the US Corporation escaping criminal liability for the disaster forever.

The representatives of these organizations said that Dow Chemicals, the owner of Union Carbide, after merging with another American multinational DuPont has announced plans to split into three entities by June 2019.

They added that the Union Carbide that is absconding from grave criminal charges for the last 26 years will, as per criminal law cease to be criminally liable following the trifurcation.

 “We had written more than a month back to the Prime Minister and the Ministries of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Law and Justice, External Affairs as well as the CBI, besides the MP government’s Ministry of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation, requesting for specific steps to stop the American multinational’s imminent escape from criminal proceedings in the disaster. But we’ve not received a single acknowledgement till date, let alone a considered reply,” said Rachna Dhingra and Satinath Sarangi representing the Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA).

“We’re very worried that just as the Congress government let Warren Anderson escape the arms of law in 1984, the inaction on this latest matter could well be part of a plan by the present BJP government in the state and at the centre to allow the killer corporation to escape prosecution in Indian courts. After all the BJP is the major beneficiary of corporate donations,” said Rashida Bi of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karmchari Sangh.

Nawab Khan, who is the president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha said “the PM has the CBI directly under him and we’ve requested him through the letter to instruct the CBI to obtain a prohibitive writ to prevent the breakdown of Union Carbide, USA.”

“We’ve sought the PM’s intervention in enlisting support of US agencies to ensure that the Union Carbide and the Dow Chemical abide by orders of the Indian courts,” added Rachna Dhingra.

“The CBI should already have moved the courts for ex-parte proceedings against Union Carbide and Dow Chemical and for attachment of the assets of Dow Chemical in India. But it looks like they are still waiting for the PM to issue directions on this matter,” said Sarita Malviya of the Children Against Dow Carbide.

The BGIA representative Satinath Sarangi, a Banaras Hindu University (BHU-Varanasi) alumnus, said “if the central government and the CBI don’t act to prevent the imminent escape by Union Carbide from criminal liability, then we might knock at the Supreme Court’s door for justice.”

“We might also campaign against the ruling BJP in 2019 LS polls across the country, just like we did against the same party in the recent Kolaras and Mungaoli assembly by-elections in MP. We’ll certainly expose the BJP in PM Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi in 2019,” said Sarangi.



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