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.