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Protests in US for Bhopal gas victims

US environmental activists will also hold a hunger strike in support of the gas tragedy victims.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2006 14:48 IST

Environmental activists will hold a demonstration and an indefinite hunger strike in Austin, Texas on Thursday in support of the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy.

Diane Wilson, a well-known environmental activist will join demonstrators of the 'Bhopal gas tragedy' in Austin, Texas on Thursday to begin her indefinite hunger strike and to support a group of six Bhopal disaster survivors and advocates, who began an indefinite hunger strike in New Delhi.

Supporters, many of them Indians living in the United States gathered to hold a candlelight vigil on Tuesday evening in Austin, the Bay Area, Boston, Seattle, Washington DC and other cities across the country, to show support to six Bhopal disaster survivors.

Ms Wilson held a candlelight vigil in front of the Dow Chemical Union Carbide plant in Seadrift, Texas, a plant that has contributed to the destruction of Lavaca Bay and her livelihood as a fisherwoman.

Author of the book 'Unreasonable Woman', Ms Wilson, last month, wrote about her 25 years of protesting environmental pollution of Union Carbide and Dow. She also completed 150 days in a Texas jail for hanging a 'Justice for Bhopal' banner in 2002 off a tower at Dow Chemical's plant in Seadrift, Texas.

In 2002, Diane went on a 28-day fast along with Bhopal survivors and managed to mobilise more than 1000 people to fast in solidarity.

The Bhopal victims, who are on hunger strike in New Delhi, have four demands: First, to get clean water that was contaminated by the Union Carbide pesticide plant. Second, a government agency with power and finances to implement medical and economic rehabilitation programmes.

Third, setting up of a special prosecution cell to pursue the criminal case against Union Carbide and Warren Anderson. Fourth, memorialising the disaster by including the Bhopal story in the educational curricula of schools and colleges.

In 1984, a toxic gas MIC that leaked from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal killed about 8,000 people on the night of December 3, leaving some 200,000 others chronically disabled.

The Bhopal campaign has demanded that Dow and Union Carbide should be barred from introducing any processes, technologies or products developed by or owned by Union Carbide into India.

According to activists from the Association for India's Development (AID), pressure from the survivors had already blocked a 1.5 million dollars deal between Indian Oil and Dow Chemical in July 2005.