Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Anniversary of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster in India‏

Clean up and pay up!

Join the Global Day of Action for Corporate Accountability

Wednesday 3 December

– also International Day of Disabled People

See www.bhopal.net

Actions by the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, led by Bhopali women gas survivors from Muslim and Hindu communities together, with worldwide solidarity, helped bring about two victories:

* The Indian government agreed to set up a Commission on Bhopal, as campaigners had demanded in their march to Delhi this summer. At that time, many protesters, including small children and women, were beaten, arrested and imprisoned by Delhi police for demonstrating in front of the Prime Minister's residence. They were eventually released after international condemnation of the authorities.

* On 3 November 2008, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reinstated claims against Union Carbide Corporation for continuing large-scale water pollution from the abandoned pesticide factory in Bhopal, where poisons have not been cleaned up. The case was previously dismissed by a lower court. Now the Second Circuit has reversed that decision, finding the dismissal to be improper. Every time it rains, toxins from the factory contaminate the drinking water of nearby residents. Many babies and children with disabilities there are recent victims of Dow, which took over the Union Carbide Corporation and its responsibilities. Dow has never agreed to clean up the site.

You can phone or write to Dow's UK office to urge them to clean up the site and pay proper compensation:

Dow Chemical Company Ltd
Diamond House
Lotus Park, Kingsbury Crescent
Staines
Middlesex TW18 3AG

Tel. 0203 139 4000
Fax: 0203 139 4004

Background

On the night of 2-3 December 1984, a gas cloud from the pesticides plant in Bhopal immediately killed approximately 8,000 children, women and men. Since then a further 15,000 people have died and at least half a million more were poisoned or disabled. Bhopal is recognised as the world's worst industrial disaster.

Compensation has been very, very hard to get. Only those who have documents to prove their claim have been paid – around $1000 each – less than 10p a day – enough to buy a cup of tea in Bhopal.

The deadly pesticide gas was similar to nerve gas, causing death, disability and devastation on a comparable scale to that suffered by people, animals and the environment caused by military weapons of mass destruction – depleted uranium in Iraq, Agent Orange in Vietnam and nuclear testing in the Pacific …

Indra Sinha's novel Animal's People, short-listed last year for the prestigious Man Booker Prize, is "a bold, punchy parable" based on Bhopal today, whose lead character, "Animal" is a disabled gas survivor. To hear an interview with the author, click on

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/audio/Booker_Indra_Sinha.ram

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