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Allowing Anderson to escape unpardonable: BJP

With more and more evidence emerging of the Congress government at the Centre in 1984 having promised “safe passage” to the then Union Carbide chief, Warren Anderson, who visited India immediately after the Bhopal gas tragedy, the Bharatiya Janata Party has demanded that the ruling party stop telling lies and own up the mischief and the unpardonable mistake.

Quoting from a statement issued by the parent company in the United States on December 7, 1984, a few days after the disaster, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “A Union Carbide statement issued at its headquarters in Danbury said the arrest violated an Indian government promise to provide Anderson safe passage. Warren Anderson went to India fully expecting to be of assistance and was provided with a safe passage assurance from the Indian government …” This statement, Mr. Prasad said, appeared in the Pittsburgh Press on December 7, 1984.

Allowing him to escape, the BJP said, was “unpardonable, unpatriotic and inhuman.” And the Congress protests against the criticism of the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, were anti-democratic.

The BJP also criticised U.S. President Barak Obama for applying different standards to different tragedies — one for British Petroleum guilty of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, in which 11 persons died, and another for Union Carbide (the gas leak in its plant in Bhopal killed 15,000 people and affected thousands more). Not only in India but the world over all right-thinking people were disgusted with the paltry compensation to the victims and the laughable punishment to the accused meted out by a trial court after 26 years, Mr. Prasad said.

However, Mr. Prasad was not able to say much about his party's role from 1998 to 2004 when it was in power at the Centre, except that in 2003 the Vajpayee government unsuccessfully tried to get Mr. Anderson extradited. The party was silent on what it did or did not do for the past 26 years to help the victims get justice, or even to protest the “questionable” Supreme Court judgment of 1996 which made it clear that the more serious charge under Section 304 II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) was to be dropped against the accused.


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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 9:04:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Allowing-Anderson-to-escape-unpardonable-BJP/article16256228.ece

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