The leaders of the five organisations working for the welfare of
the victims and survivors of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the
world’s worst industrial catastrophe, have demanded dropping of
criminal charges against 2000 survivors. They have been framed to
have allegedly taken part in the violence that ensued following
the “Rail Roko” agitation on December 3 last, the 27th anniversary
of the disaster.
Addressing a joint press conference the leaders of the five NGOs
here on Thursday said that 14 men have been arrested under false
charges of murderous assault and other serious offences without a
shred of evidence. The organisations claimed to have photographic
and video evidence to show that violence on the 27th anniversary
of the disaster was initiated by unprovoked attack on defenseless
women survivors by armed policemen under the orders of the
In addition to 14 people arrested, of which 11 are incidentally
Muslims, there are many other gas victims who are facing serious
charges like attempt to murder (IPC 307). Ms Batul Bee, Ms
Rampyari Bai are over 80 years old are facing such serious
charges. Ms Bano Bee, Balkrishan Namdeo, Ms Hazra Bee all over 60
years old are also facing same charges, the NGOs pointed out.
The organisations said that by criminally charging gas victims,
some older than 80 years and most with health problems, the
government was trying to suppress the survivors legitimate demand
for adequate compensation from Union Carbide and Dow Chemical.
They condemned the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s going
back on his promise of setting up “impartial” investigation into
the violence on the 27th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster.
The organisations said that none of the 14 arrested on December 3
2011 ever had had any previous criminal case against them. They
presented work place records to demonstrate that 6 out of the 14
arrested were not even present at the time of violence. They said
that the police did not have any photographic or video graphic
evidence to show that the 14 persons indulged in any attack on the
police or public property.
However, it may be mentioned here that police administration have
denied the charges levelled by the gas victims’ organisations
saying that on the basis of concrete evidence arrests have been
made and they have not been tortured as alleged. Senior
Superintendent of Police Yogesh Choudhary has refuted the claims
of the gas victims bodies.
Maulana Mufti Abdul Razzaq, a well-known spiritual leader of
Bhopal Muslims, joined the Press conference and called for end of
tyranny by the state. He said that he supports the demand for
adequate compensation from the American companies and said that
the false charges on innocent victims must be dropped without
delay. He said that the disaster and police atrocities on the 27th
anniversary have affected Hindus and Muslims alike and laid the
blame for the violence on 3rd December on Chief Minister and
Collector. A kin of the Maulana has also been arrested for the
December 3rd violence.
Meanwhile, the organisations praised the Madhya Pradesh State
Human Rights Commission, (MPSHRC), for issuing notice to the
district and police administration on the violence of December 3.
They said they have filed a complaint with the MPSHRC on the
violation of legal and constitutional rights of the arrested
persons. Family members of the arrested persons narrated that the
arrested young men were beaten up, stripped to their underwear and
kept in the lock up for over 48 hours before being produced in
front of a magistrate. The arrested persons were also not told
about their charges, given food or any protection from cold and
were denied access to their lawyers or family members.
The organisations said that contrary to the Chief Minister
Chouhan’s publicly stated promise of revising the figures of death
and trying to ensure maximum compensation for all gas victims, the
state government had taken no steps to correct the figures of
deaths and injury in the Curative Petition before the Supreme
Court. They said that instead of supporting the demands of the
survivors’ organisations as promised in his public statement on
the anniversary, the Chief Minister was harming the gas victim’s
cause by demanding the inclusion of residents of 20 non affected
wards in the list of claimants for compensation.
The organisations vowed to continue with their struggle for
adequate compensation from Union Carbide and Dow Chemical and
against the violation of their human rights by the police and
The five organisations which addressed the Press conference are:
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas
Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh, Morcha, Bhopal Gas Peedit
Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for
Information & Action and Children Against Dow Carbide.