Bhopal protesters knock on Dow Chemical’s door in Mumbai – Videos

Akshay Deshmane
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Demand clean up of toxins in soil and water around Union Carbide plant, production of absconding corporation officials before Indian court


Pic- Kamayani Bali Mahabal

Godrej Business District Pirojshahnagar in the eastern Mumbai suburb of Vikhroli had some unusual visitors on Tuesday. They were not well-heeled business professionals but hundreds of poor women, children and men, shouting slogans and carrying placards and posters which denounced Dow Chemical International Private Limited for its apathy towards the victims and survivors of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

Nearly 200 protesters from Bhopal who had survived the Bhopal gas disaster, including many children born after the accident who are experiencing severe health complications due to toxic contamination in the erstwhile plant’s vicinity, demonstrated outside the office of Dow Chemical, demanding that its parent company in USA clean up toxic contamination from soil and ground water in and around Union Carbide’s abandoned factory. The protesters also demanded from Dow Chemical that owns Union Carbide produce the absconding corporation charged with culpable homicide before the Bhopal court [1].

Having received advance intimation about the arrival of protesters, the company officials had made additional security arrangements and called in the police. “Officials from our senior management had asked us to reinforce our security with additional personnel, add more personnel to the Godrej’s private security that looks after security in the premises and called in the police also. This helped in preventing the protesters from entering the building. Only a small delegation of five protesters was allowed in to meet the officials at the company’s reception briefly and by 2-2:30 pm they had left,” said a member of Dow’s private security.

Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action was one of the five members who went in for the meeting. “We gave them our memorandum of demands and they responded saying that the senior management of the company will be informed about it but gave no time frame in which the demands will be addressed or responded to,” said Sarangi.

Demonstrators included women and children who have chronic illnesses from drinking local ground water contaminated with toxic chemicals and heavy metals [2]  from hazardous wastes recklessly dumped by Union Carbide. The protesters expressed dismay over Dow Chemical’s continued business in hazardous chemicals in India.

Nawab Khan of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha said that following its takeover of Union Carbide in 2001, Dow Chemical is responsible for the horrific birth defects and other health damages caused due to ground water contamination.

Balkrishna Namdeo of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha pointed out that Dow Chemicals is yet to pay additional compensation for deaths and health damage caused by the Dow subsidiary in the December 1984 gas disaster. “In 1989, Union Carbide had paid compensation only for 3,828 deaths whereas the total number of deaths has crossed 25, 000. Likewise, compensation has been paid for injuries to 102,000 persons while the actual number of persons injured by the disaster according to the state and Central governments is 568, 293.” (see Bhopal gas leak: curative petition downplays number of deaths[3]; SC refuses to restore stiffer charges for Bhopal disaster accused [4] and Union Carbide refuses more compensation to Bhopal gas leak victims [5]).

For those affected by the accident, there may be some hope for justice. Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action informed that in response to her organisation’s application, the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhopal will soon summon the Dow Chemical’s authorized representative from USA and ask it to show cause why it does not produce its full subsidiary Union Carbide that is absconding from charges of culpable homicide for the last 21 years.


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Bhopal gas tragedy survivors stage demonstration in Mumbai

STAFF REPORTER, The Hindu April 1o, 2013

  • CALL FOR LIABILITY: More than 200 survivors of the Bhopl gas disaster protest at the office of Dow Chemical International Private Ltd at Vikhroli in Mumbai on Tuesday. Photo: Special Arrangement
    CALL FOR LIABILITY: More than 200 survivors of the Bhopl gas disaster protest at the office of Dow Chemical International Private Ltd at Vikhroli in Mumbai on Tuesday. Photo: Special Arrangement
  • Police trying to prevent protesters from entering the office. Photo: Special Arrangement
    thPolice trying to prevent protesters from entering the office. Photo: Special Arrangement

Around 200 survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster held demonstrations in front of the Dow Chemical’s office in Vikroli in suburban Mumbai on Tuesday, demanding that the company take up the criminal, civilian and environmental liability of Union Carbide, which they now own.

The demonstrators said they were protesting against Dow Chemical’s continuing business in hazardous chemicals when the survivors were dying in Bhopal and the next generation was facing health problems.

Earlier, the protesters stormed the Godrej compound, where the office of the company is situated. “From the year 2000, we have been making it clear to Dow Chemicals that if they decide to buy Union Carbide, they will have to take all the liabilities too,” said Satinath Sarangi who led the demonstrations. “Cleaning toxic material is one of them and they are simply ignoring that.”

Nawab Khan of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha said women and children were suffering from chronic illnesses after drinking contaminated ground water. “Dow Chemical, since it has taken over the company, is now directly responsible for this and we have come here to make them realise that.”

Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morch said that the Union Carbide in 1989 had paid compensation only for 3828 deaths, whereas the total number of deaths had crossed 25,000. “Apart from that, the actual number of people injured in the tragedy according to the government is 5,68,293, but the company has paid compensation to only 1,02,000. They are simply not bothered about the rest.”

The demonstrators submitted a charter of demands to the representatives of Dow Chemicals.

In spite of repeated attempts, the company refused to comment.


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