Survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy on Sunday observed the 22nd anniversary of the lethal leakage that killed thousands of people.
Several organisations, including the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan (BGPMUS), held a public meeting at the Yadgare Shahjahani Park and took a pledge "not to allow repeat of Bhopal" while criticising multinational companies for "playing with the lives of innocent people in third world countries".
"Around 34,000 people have died due to the after effects and about two lakh people are constantly suffering. Another one lakh are temporarily or permanently disabled. So if Union Carbide is directly responsible for the deaths taking place within one month of the incident, then our government is also responsible for the deaths that took place due to the after effects," said Abdul Jabbar, convener BGPMUS, a pressure group working for the cause of the victims.
Later around 1,000 gas victims, led by Jabbar, took out a rally from the park to reach the now defunct Union Carbide factory where they burnt the effigies of Warren Anderson, the then chairman of Union Carbide, wanted by Bhopal court on a charge of culpable homicide.
Hundreds others also mourned the disaster that occurred on the intervening night of December 2/3, 1984 when 40 tonnes of lethal Methyl-Iso-Cyanate spewed out of the Union Carbide's pesticide plant killing over 3,000 people instantly and maiming several thousand others for life. More than 15,000 people have died since then.
Another group of victims led by four survivors organisations - Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karamchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Ki Awaaaz and Bhopal Group of Information and Action - also marched through the streets of Bhopal, shouting slogans like 'Anderson ko phaansi do, humko saaf paani do' (hang Anderson and give us clean drinking water) and reached the Union Carbide factory where they burnt the effigy of the company and Anderson.
They also held a prayer meeting in front of the plant and demanded adequate treatment for the survivors.