Set up special cell to extradite Anderson: survivors

If the government is serious about prosecuting the former Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) chairman, Warren Anderson, it should set up a Special Prosecution Cell to bring the accused to justice, groups representing survivors from the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy said.

“It is clear that the current CBI officials are not able to handle this. We want some committed people with the knowledge and interest to handle the extradition…The CBI was able to extradite Abu Salem. It is not that they lack skills, but willpower,” said Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA).

Responding to Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily's statement on Monday that “justice was buried” in the criminal case, survivors' groups have suggested “ways in which the government can undo the judicial disaster.”

“As a minister in charge of the CBI, the Prime Minister must set up the Special Prosecution Cell that we have been demanding for the last 18 years,” said Rashida Bee of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh.

“Execute summons”

“The CBI must execute the summons issued against Dow Chemical by the Bhopal District Court in January 2005,” said Syed M. Irfan of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha.

“As the full owner of the absconding corporation, Dow Chemical is committing the crime of sheltering a fugitive from justice,” he added.

Apart from bringing Mr. Anderson to stand trial in India, survivors' organisations suggested that the Indian government join the ongoing case in a United States federal court against the accused and the UCC on the issue of toxic contamination of soil and water in and around the abandoned factory.

“Centre should join case”

In a statement, the groups said that the case filed by a group of victims in 1999 had faced hurdles because it did not include the government, which is the current owner of the land.

“If the tears being shed on the lack of justice are genuine, the Indian government will join the case in support of the plaintiffs,” they said.

The BGIA's Satinath Sarangi asked the Centre to take inspiration from U.S. President Barack Obama's commitment to make BP pay “every cent” for its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must demand that the American government follow the same standards on corporate liability for U.S. corporations operating in India as it expects other corporations operating in U.S.,” Mr. Sarangi said.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 11:36:46 AM |

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