The second-, third-generation survivors continue to suffer the effects of the toxic leak

Survivors of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy this week held a sit-in at the city’s Lower Lake to mark the incident’s 29th anniversary.NGO Chingari provides the second- and third-generation children with special education and therapy. These children, who suffer ailments such as cerebral palsy, impairments of speech and hearing, epilepsy, heart diseases and others, were accompanied at the protest by parents and grandparents who survived the poisonous gas leak from Union Carbide factory here in 1984. As many as 16,000 people were killed on the intervening night of December 2 and 3 that year. Their progeny, numbering lakhs, continue to suffer the effects. Karthik is 14, but has the speech and motor ability of a three-year-old. “I want to be a doctor,” he tells The Hindu. “I am lighting candles here because I can’t become one.”

Rani Yadav was 10 and lost her sister when the tragedy occurred. Her children and siblings have been born with defects. “We got Rs.25,000 as compensation. The government thinks that children can be cured with that amount. They have built hospitals for us but the doctors keep referring our children to other doctors,” she told this paper.

“No cure, no jobs”

Champa Devi Shukla, who lost her husband and three sons, is a managing trustee of Chingari, which means “spark” in Hindi.

Champa said: “The compensation was a joke [the State played] on us. At the government hospitals, they usually give us paracetamol and cough syrup for whichever ailment we complain of. They [the State] offer no cure for our illnesses, no jobs for our children and there is no more compensation besides the paltry amount we have been given.”