A conglomerate of five NGOs, working among the gas disaster victims, under the banner of 'International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal', on Tuesday slammed the Narendra Modi government for going 'soft' on the Union Carbide and its new owner Dow Chemical and tacitly supporting them.
Social workers said the Central government had not done anything positive in one year of its rule to secure justice for survivors of world's worst industrial disaster.
“Tacit support of the NDA government to Dow Chemical is evident in its refusal to involve United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) in scientific assessment of the environmental contamination in and around the Bhopal factory. The assessment would have fixed Dow Chemical's liability and paved the way for clean-up of toxic contamination, but the Union environment minister nixed the responsibility,” said Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action.
Dhingra was addressing a press conference organized to voice the views of the victims of the gas tragedy on the first anniversary of the Modi government at the Centre.
“The year of Modi's rule has been a year of deliberate laxity by the government towards the two US corporations and medical care and economic rehabilitation of the victims,” said Rashida Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karmchari Sangh.
The groups expressed anger over the alleged undue favours given to the Dow Chemical by the Centre in the past year.
“The CBI that was prosecuting the Dow Chemical's Indian subsidiary Dow Agro Sciences, knowingly suppressed evidence against the company, and the company was discharged in the bribery case,” said Balkrishna Namdeo of Bhopal Gas Peeedit Nirasherit Pension Bhogi Morcha.
“In the last one year, the government has twice failed to make Dow Chemical appear in the trial court in connection with criminal proceedings over gas disaster. It appears that the prime minister is sending a dangerous message to the US corporations that they can do business in India without obeying the law of the land,” said Nawab Khan.
The activists said that NDA government's support to the US companies during the period was matched by its neglect towards medical care and economic rehabilitation of gas victims.