Representatives of gas victims stage dharna
TEN REPRESENTATIVES of the Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) working for gas-affected victims today staged a dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi in support of their six-point charter of demands.
The first objective of the agitators is to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi for the fulfillment of their demands.
If these demands are not accepted the dharna would be converted into an indefinite hunger strike from April 1, Rashida Bi of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karmachari Sangh (BGPMSKS) said at a press conference here today.
A group of gas survivors, under the joint aegis of the BGPMSKS, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information and Action and Bhopal ki Aawaz, had undertaken a foot march from Bhopal to Delhi between February 20 and March 15.
Their main demands are provision of clean water, environmental remediation at the polluters’ cost around the Union Carbide factory premises, setting up of a National Commission to provide medical and economic rehabilitation, stopping Union Carbide and Dow Chemical’s businesses in India until justice is done and incorporation of the Bhopal tragedy in curricula besides constructing a memorial in Bhopal.
Meanwhile, six representatives of the survivors met Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Ram Vilas Paswan. Rashida Bi told media persons that the minister was in agreement with all six demands and had assured the delegation that his ministry would take positive steps on issues that come under its jurisdiction.
The representatives also met Cabinet Minister Oscar Fernandes, who promised to support them in felicitating a meeting with the Prime Minister at an early date. In another development, 20 members of the American Congress, led by Congressman Frank Pallone, have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to address the demands of survivors and take action against the errant US multinational.
“The conduct of American Corporations outside the United States is a long-standing concern of ours, especially with regard to environment protection standards. …It is outrageous that the CEOs of Union Carbide and its successor, Dow Chemical has yet to be brought to justice.
It is disappointing that the Indian Government has been reticent in pursuing the Union Carbide and Dow Chemical for their civil and criminal liabilities in the country,” the letter states.