Torch rally to mark Bhopal gas tragedy anniversay

Thursday, December 2, 2010

BHOPAL - Over 500 survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy and victims of the resultant water contamination Thursday staged a torchlight march to mark the 26th anniversary of the world’s worst industrial disaster.

The marchers walked from Bhopal Talkies to the Union Carbide India’s abandoned pesticide factory which spewed tonnes of poisonous methyl-isocyanate Dec 2-3 night in 1984, killing over 3,000 people overnight.

The marchers demanded legal action against the Bhopal factory’s parent company Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), its former chairman Warren Anderson and UCC’s Hong Kong subsidiary.

The march organised by five Bhopal-based organisations said that the main obstruction in securing justice for the survivors was the continuing alleged collusion between the central government and two American companies - UCC and Dow Chemical Company, which took over UCC.

“Dow Chemical that took over Union Carbide in 2001 has been refusing to accept the legal liability for cleaning up the contaminated ground water and soil in and around the abandoned Union Carbide factory,” said Rashida Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh.

At the end of the rally, the marchers, including a large number of children, gathered around a statue in front of the abandoned factory to pay homage to the victims.

In the years that followed the gas leak in 1984, people exposed to the gas kept dying or suffered from life-long ailments and complications. The deaths in the industrial disaster are believed to have mounted to about 25,000 over the years.

On June 7, a Bhopal court held seven officials of the Union Carbide India plant and the company itself guilty of criminal negligence and causing the industrial disaster.

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