Burning of the then chief executive officer of Union Carbide Warren Anderson's effigy by Bhopal gas victims marks the Bhopal Gas Tragedy anniversary every year. It has become quite a custom now but there is hardly any possibility of Anderson facing the judicial process in the country.
In this file photo, a victim of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy looks on during a protest outside the sports ministry in New Delhi. AP/Saurabh Das
The victims have lost even hope now. Once, Anderson was allowed to move out of the police custody on bail in 1984 and leave the country, thanks to the then Central and state governments, he never looked back to face the legal proceedings. Though, he had promised that he would get back to face the proceedings.
How the successive governments in the state and at the Centre and the government agencies were serious in serving the court's arrest warrant to him and getting him back to India through extradition process could be gauged from the fact that his whereabouts were located as many as 18 years after the tragedy in New York, that too not by any Indian agency but Greenpeace International activists.
The activists not only paid a visit to Anderson's mansion but handed him over an arrest warrant too.
A feature by the organisation on August 29, 2002 said its campaigner in the US Casey Harrell personally visited Anderson in his luxury home where he refused to comment on the disaster.
The organisation said quoting Harrell, "If a team of journalists and Greenpeace managed to track down India's most wanted man in a matter of days, how seriously have the US authorities tried to find him all these years? The US has reacted swiftly on curbing the financial corporate crimes of Enron and WorldCom, but has clearly not made much of an effort to find Anderson, responsible for the deaths of 20,000 people in India."
Ganesh Nochur of Greenpeace in India then had reportedly said that since Anderson's address was known 'India must immediately and formally push for his arrest and extradition on charges of culpable homicide'.
Needless to mention, nothing happened in this direction and Anderson continues to live a luxurious life with impunity at the age of 92.
As if to rub salt on wounds of gas tragedy victims, a US court ruled in October this year that neither Union Carbide Corporation nor its former chairman Warren Anderson were liable for environment remediation or pollution-related claims by the victims.
Talking to the Hindustan Times, social worker Abdul Jabbar said for the successive governments at the Centre Warren Anderson was a symbol of multinational companies. Hence, the governments thought that his arrest would affect the investment to the country.
Thus, he added, the governments whether at the Centre or in the state were more concerned about investment than the human lives who suffered in the tragedy and who continued to suffer.