Amnesty International on Sunday called for urgent steps to provide adequate compensation to the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy and bring the Union Carbide and Dow Chemical to book.
“Thirty years is more than enough to wait. They can’t wait any longer… can’t wait for compensation, health care and clean water, can’t wait for clean-up, can’t wait for the perpetrators of corporate crimes to be brought to justice,” said Salil Shetty, global head of the organisation.
Addressing a press conference here, he noted that governments, both at the Centre and the State, had let the Union Carbide off the hook for the thousands of deaths and injuries caused by the gas leak by “wildly underestimating” the casualties. This must be rectified at the earliest. “The government has to urgently re-verify the data against health records and make the figures credible.”
Pollution audit As the waste continues to remain dumped at the Carbide plant here, the Amnesty International Secretary General said the Centre should invite United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to carry out an independent audit of the pollution and also carry out a proper study of health issues in the area and take urgent action.
Mr. Shetty regretted that not a single American employee who was on top of the chain of command had so far been brought to justice and said India should raise the matter with the U.S. government. “Its double standards are outrageous. If the same disaster had been caused by an Indian company on U.S. soil, there was no way it would have got away with it.’’
Referring to the manner in which the U.S. dealt with the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, he said President Barack Obama went after the company and secured over $20 billion as compensation for the affected. “The U.S. has to show that it treats all human lives as equal and that human rights are for all, whether you are a poor Muslim woman in Bhopal or a U.S. citizen in Louisiana.’’