The trial court verdict in the Bhopal gas disaster case is a cruel joke on the victims and their kin. They have not even been paid adequate compensation till date. The state has apparently been in blissful ignorance of their plight. The verdict assumes significance in view of the discussion on the nuclear liability bill. It is a grim reminder of the immense power wielded by MNCs, which make a mockery of the sovereignty of third world countries.

Mahfooz Alam,

New Delhi

The verdict in the Bhopal gas tragedy case has left India in utter dismay and anguish. It has been rightly said that the disaster has been converted into a traffic accident. The corporate bigwigs sentenced to two years' imprisonment are out on bail, reinforcing the fact that money and power play a big role in our country.

M. Tejaswi Kumar,

Hyderabad

Oliver Goldsmith was right when he said: “Law grinds the poor and rich men rule the law.” If you are rich and can employ leading lawyers for your defence, justice can be delayed or denied to the needy. According to the Constitution, all are equal in the eyes of law but in real terms some are more equal than others.

L.R. Moorthy,

Badlapur

The judiciary took 26 years to pronounce its verdict in the world's worst industrial disaster in which thousands died. And the law has treated it as an accident, sentencing the accused to two years in prison. Is law really the great civilising machinery?

L. David Lal,

New Delhi

The expression of rage and dissatisfaction over the Bhopal verdict points to the lack of awareness. Two years' imprisonment to the seven accused was the maximum the court could have awarded in the circumstances. The judiciary can, by no means, be faulted.

But the Supreme Court's action of amending the charge — from culpable homicide to negligence — was certainly a disappointment.

Tanmoy Chattopadhyay,

Haryana

Too little, too late — these words sum up the reaction to the Bhopal verdict. We need to ponder over the larger question that arises from the verdict. The need for a separate law to deal with industrial disasters, which addresses issues of inquiry, compensation, conviction, punishment and liability, cannot be overemphasised. The media and civil society should bring pressure on the government to learn from the mistakes of Bhopal.

Shreegiri Hiremath,

Gulbarga

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