On Bhopal anniversary eve, a cry for justice

Coalition writes to PM, says Union Carbide was the original ‘Make in India’

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:36 pm IST

Published - December 03, 2014 01:50 am IST - BHOPAL:

Survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy during a protest demanding adequate compensation, in Bhopal recently. Photo: A. M. Faruqui

Survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy during a protest demanding adequate compensation, in Bhopal recently. Photo: A. M. Faruqui

A coalition of five organisations working for the welfare of the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday to ensure that Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals were brought to book and the victims got adequate compensation at the earliest.

In a letter to the Prime Minister on the eve of the 30th anniversary of one of the worst industrial disasters of the world, they noted that while Union Carbide had been “absconding’’ for the past 22 years, Dow Chemicals had refused to appeared in the Bhopal district court despite summons.

Making a reference to the government’s recent initiative to bring in foreign investment and promote India as a manufacturing hub, the letter said that while welcoming foreign companies, they should be made to follow Indian laws.

“We hope that you and the government will be as enthusiastic in making U.S. corporations obey Indian laws as you are in welcoming them to invest in our country. We write with the hope that you and your government are aware that Bhopal was the original ‘Make in India’ in the profoundest sense of the phrase,” it said.

On the issue of compensation, the organisations expressed the hope for an early follow-up on the agreements which they had recently reached with Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar.

Tuesday marked the inauguration of a museum that portrays the trauma and 30 years of relentless struggle by the victims to get justice.

Called “Remember Bhopal,” the museum is collectively curated by the community of survivors and activists fighting for human rights. It relies predominantly on the oral history testimonies of the survivors and the narrative of the museum is shaped by their experiences and objects of memory from the tragedy and the struggle for justice.

Inaugurated by a survivor, the museum has nearly 50 original audio recordings of the survivors cut into three minutes loops that can be heard by picking up phone receivers hung on the walls. Besides, families of the several victims have given artefacts.

Museum curator Rama Lakshmi, a journalist, said the museum carried the message of the movement as it did not use any toxic material and has not accepted any money from large corporate houses or the government.

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