Bhopal gas victims begin hunger strike

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Nine activists, including survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster and victims of water contamination, began a hunger strike here on Tuesday.

The activists said the statement by Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Prithviraj Chavan on the setting up of an empowered commission for rehabilitation made no mention of its powers; nor did he specify any time frame for submission of its recommendations.

Also, the statement was silent on the issue of legal action against Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals.

Thousands of people died as methyl isocyanate gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant in the Madhya Pradesh capital in December 1984. Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals have since merged.

The activists are from the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha and the Bhopal Group for Information and Action.

On Monday, the police arrested several activists who tried to hold a demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s Office.