TRIBUTES WERE paid on Sunday to those, who lost lives in Bhopal gas disaster, on 22nd anniversary. The gas victims expressed anguish over their alleged continued neglect through peaceful modes of protest – by holding rallies, burning effigy and demonstrations. An all-religion prayer was held at the official function.
At the official function, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said every person should remain vigilant to ensure that disasters like the Bhopal gas disaster do not take place. Stating that in any disaster members of weaker section are worst hit, the Chief Minister said industrial development should not be at the cost of human life and environment.
The Chief Minister said efforts have been made for rehabilitation of gas victims but it was important to continue efforts in that direction.
Prayers were held of all major religions in the presence of clerics of respective religions. A two-minute silence was observed to pay homage to hundreds of people killed in the disaster.
Minister for Gas Relief and Rehabilitation Babulal Gaur, Finance Minister Raghavji, Mayor Sunil Sood, former gas relief minister Arif Aqueel, Chief Secretary Rakesh Sahni and Director General of Police A R Pawar were also present.
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangthan (BGPMUS) held a condolence meeting at Yadgar-e-Shahjahani Park to pay tributes to persons killed in the disaster.
BGPMUS convener Abdul Jabbar and other activists criticised the State Government for its ‘failure’ in rehabilitating gas disaster survivors. Jabbar said if the State Government had some sensitivity for the gas victims, it should prepare a road map for rehabilitation of gas victims before the next anniversary of disaster.
It was announced at the meeting that the BGPMUS would not burn the effigy of Warren Anderson, the prime accused in Union Carbide criminal case, but hand it over to the CBI at its Bhopal office on December 9.
Later, a rally was taken out through major routes of old Bhopal, which culminated at Chhola cremation ground, where tributes were paid to persons killed in the disaster. Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha observed the day as ‘anti-MNCs’ Day.
The Morcha activists took out a rally from Neelam Park, which culminated at Union Carbide, where Warren Anderson’s effigy was consigned to flames and anti-Carbide, anti-Dow and anti-American slogans raised.
The Communist Party of India held a demonstration at Housing Board Square in Karond, where effigies of Warren Anderson and American colonialism were consigned to flames.
Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sahyog Samiti (BGPSSS) organised a convention of gas victims outside the Carbide plant. At the convention, the BGPSSS, leaders of left trade unions and allied groups described gas tragedy symbol of American colonialism’s invasion on people of developing countries.