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Survivors protest against govt-organised run on anniversary of Bhopal gas tragedy

The administration was forced to change the route of the marathon in the wake of the protest

bhopal Updated: Dec 03, 2017 21:15 IST
Shruti Tomar
Shruti Tomar
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Bhopal gas tragedy,Union Carbide,Dow Chemicals
Survivors of Bhopal gas tragedy protest against a half marathon district administration organised on Sunday,coinciding with the 33rd anniversary of the industrial disaster. (Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo)

A half marathon organised by the district administration coinciding with the 33rd anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy on Sunday drew ire of the survivors of world’s one of the worst industrial disasters.

Toxic gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant in the city on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984 had claimed several lives.

Hundreds of supporters holding posters and placards held protest against ‘Run Bhopal Run,’ an annual event.

“When half the city is mourning deaths of more than 3000 people in Bhopal Gas Tragedy, how can another half celebrate through an annual half marathon –‘Run Bhopal Run.’ Have they forgotten the pain and trauma, which is still fresh in our mind even after 33 years,” read a protest banner.

Protestors lay down on the road wearing shrouds, forcing administration to change the route of the marathon.

Rachna Dhingra, a social activist working with the survivors of the tragedy, said, “Officials of the district administration, mayor and members of parliament participated in the half marathon ignoring pain and agony thousands of Bhopal gas tragedy victims had undergone.”

However, one of the participants in the marathon Aruneshwar Singh Deo said the run was organised to motivate people for organ donation and was not a celebratory event.

“We paid homage to Bhopal gas tragedy victims too,” he said.

Despite several attempts no one form the administration could be contacted for their comment.

The survivors of the tragedy also organised a protest rally in the afternoon against what they said the apathy of the government and burnt an effigy of Dow Chemicals, which owns Union Carbide Corporation (UCC).

Government largesse for gas victims

Madhya Pradesh’s BJP government plans to link several ongoing government schemes such as housing for all with benefits being given to victims of the gas tragedy as an additional assistance.

Bhopal gas tragedy relief and rehabilitation minister Vishwas Sarang said, “We will rehabilitate survivors of the tragedy with the help of central and state government schemes.”

He said the state government will conduct study on economic, social and health conditions of the survivors.

“New training centres will be opened for the skill development of survivors. Similarly, best medical facilities are being provided to survivors by tying up with private hospitals,” said Sarang.

First Published: Dec 03, 2017 21:15 IST

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