In a symbolic protest, a group of survivors of Bhopal gas tragedy chained and locked themselves to the barricades leading to chief minister’s official residence, in Bhopal on Thursday afternoon. They also posed as dead bodies in a bid to recreate the tragic scene that followed the worst industrial tragedy in the world 30 years ago.
The survivors were seeking attention of the chief minister towards their long-pending demand of additional compensation. The protestors have been urging the state government to take steps to revise the number of dead and injured in the curative petition that is pending before the Supreme Court.
They are also demanding the state government to intervene in the legal action for cleanup of the contaminated site that is ongoing in the US Federal court.
The symbolic protest was first in series of the non-violent direct action in run-up to the 30th anniversary of Bhopal gas tragedy called by five organisations working for the gas survivors.
About 50 survivors managed to dodge the security and reach near the gate number 2 of the CM House and chained and locked themselves to the metallic barriers, much before the police could move in. Some of them also lied down on the road, covering themselves with white clothes, in depiction of dead bodies.
After police intervention, the protest was called off. Kasturi Bai, 50, a survivor from JP Nagar said that the lives of the gas victims were very much like that of prisoners because of their health and economic problems. "It is thus better if we remained chained and locked," she said.
Shahzadi Bi, 53, of Blue Moon Colony said that the ‘dead body’ protest was to highlight the travails of the gas survivors, some of whom were really living dead.
The organisations that organised the protest have said that the Central government was equally responsible for the denial of adequate compensation and official apathy towards the critical issue of cleanup of the poisoned land and water.
They said victims of gas exposure and contamination would undertake a fast without water in New Delhi to move the Central government into action.
Among those to led the demonstration included Satinath Sarangi and Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action, Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha, Rashida Bi of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, Nawab Khan of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha and Safreen Khan of Children Against Dow Carbide.