‘I will never forgive them… I cannot’ | bhopal | Hindustan Times
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‘I will never forgive them… I cannot’

“I was almost left for dead… but I was only unconscious,” said Nusrat Jehan, who lived in JP Nagar, one of the worst-affected areas in the Bhopal gas tragedy.

bhopal Updated: Jun 09, 2010 00:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

“I was almost left for dead… but I was only unconscious,” said Nusrat Jehan, who lived in JP Nagar, one of the worst-affected areas in the Bhopal gas tragedy.

A doctor arrived and took her to a hospital. She was only 18 then. “But my sister, 16-year-old Ishrat, died in my arms.”

Ishrat Jehan was buried the next morning. But there was more to come. Her father Sheikh Bashir (45) and mother Chandni Bi (40), and her other sisters, Kishwar Jehan and Farhat, died within 24 hours of the lethal leak, leaving young Nusrat shattered.

She could not even attend the last rites of her family members because she was in a hospital.

“Members of a Jamaat (association) that arrived on the ill-fated day in the mosque performed the last rites of my parents and sisters as their bodies were left abandoned in the absence of any relatives,” Nusrat said.

She had a harrowing time struggling to cope with the sudden loss of her family. “But I have to thank my aunt Shahjehan Bi. She had lost her brother in the tragedy, but she gave me all the emotional support I needed at that time.”

Some years later, Nusrat married her aunt’s son Azimul Rehman. But the adverse effects of exposure to the toxic methyl isocyanate ensured that she suffered miscarriages.

Several miscarriages later, Nusrat has two children — Nazma and Uzma. But December 3, 1984 continues to haunt her.

“If they (Union Carbide executives) had undergone the same ordeal as we did over the years, they would have understood the gravity of the disaster,” she said angrily.

Twenty-years have passed. “But I will never forgive them… I can’t.”