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Updated: December 4, 2009 10:00 IST

Angry protests mark Bhopal anniversary

PTI
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SurvIvors of the Bhopal gas tragedy take part in a protest rally on the 25th anniversary day of the tragedy in Bhopal on Thursday. Photo: A. M. Faruqui
The Hindu SurvIvors of the Bhopal gas tragedy take part in a protest rally on the 25th anniversary day of the tragedy in Bhopal on Thursday. Photo: A. M. Faruqui

Angry survivors joined protests to mark the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster on Thursday, demanding that those responsible be brought to book.

Protesters marched to the Union Carbide pesticide plant where on December 3, 1984 lethal methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked from the factory killing over 15,000 people and affecting more than five lakh in the days and weeks after the disaster. They voiced concern at inadequate compensation.

Parliament also saluted the memory of the victims of “one of the most harrowing man-made tragedies.”

The Lok Sabha passed a resolution expressing solidarity with the victims with Speaker Meira Kumar saying: “Even after two decades and a half, the pain and anguish of the survivors continue to torment us.”

In the Rajya Sabha, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury lamented the “criminal negligence” in payment of compensation to victims.

Mr. Yechury, who was supported by almost the entire House, said that toxic waste was still lying around the Union Carbide plant affecting water and soil in a five sq. km. area.

Convenor of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan (BGPMUS) Abdul Jabbar told PTI that the victims were angry that even 25 years after the disaster no one had been punished for it.

“The judicial process in our country is very slow and it seems highly unlikely that the disaster victims will be able to get justice in their lifetimes,” Mr. Jabbar said.

The rallies and demonstrations were staged at several places in the city amid latest claims by the Centre for Science and Environment that groundwater in areas around the gas tragedy site contained almost 40 times more pesticides than allowed under Indian standards.

An all-religion prayer meeting was also held at Barkatullah Bhavan.

It was attended by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Urban Development Minister Babulal Gaur.

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