16 countries to commemorate Bhopal gas tragedy
On December 3 it will be 25 years since the Bhopal gas disaster took place, killing 3,500 people instantly. While a number of public meetings, film screenings and marches are being planned in the week leading up to the D-day in Bhopal and across India, 16 other countries have expressed their intention to join in the commemoration.delhi Updated: Nov 18, 2009 16:04 IST
On December 3 it will be 25 years since the Bhopal gas disaster took place, killing 3,500 people instantly. While a number of public meetings, film screenings and marches are being planned in the week leading up to the D-day in Bhopal and across India, 16 other countries have expressed their intention to join in the commemoration.
Javed Naqi of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal said: "Starting Nov 25, there will be a large number of programmes to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster. In India, the programmes will be organised in 20 states, besides Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh".
"Other than in India there will be 16 other countries that will be taking part in the commemorative programmes across the world," he added.
Among the countries participating are Germany, Italy, France, Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Israel, Switzerland, Thailand, China, Philippines, Cambodia, Hong-kong, South Africa, Canada and the US.
The tragedy on the intervening night of Dec 2-3, 1984, occurred when tonnes of Methyl Iso Cyanate (MIC) and other lethal gases spewed out of the Union Carbide Corporation's pesticide plant here, killing more than 3,500 people instantly and maiming several thousand others for life.
In Bhopal this Nov 25 there will be a conference by the gas tragedy survivors on how they have been fighting the after-effects of the disaster like water contamination and diseases.
There will also be a conference on the findings of the Centre for Science and Environment on the quality of soil and water in the areas behind the Union Carbide factory presently, an exhibition of photos on the aftermath of the disaster, a poetry reading session, candle light marches and film screenings.
"In Delhi too, there will be film screenings organised at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Milia Islamia University and Delhi university on issues related to the tragedy. Although we are organising all this in association with other NGOs, we are trying to involve as many youth groups as we can in it," Naqi told IANS.
On Dec 3, there will be a group meeting and a rally in Delhi like elsewhere.
"Besides paying tribute to the victims of the gas tragedy, our aim behind organising these events is to also harp on our long standing demands of compensation, medical and health facilities and rehabilitation of victims," he said.
"Also, we want that the Madhya Pradesh government's announcement to throw open Union Carbide's now defunct pesticide plant for the public on the 25th anniversary of the tragedy be stopped," Naqi said.