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Bhopal will remember its dead and dying - and how

Wednesday December 01, 2010 07:03:16 PM, IANS

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Bhopal: Bhopal can never forget the gas tragedy 26 years ago that made it synonymous with the world's worst industrial disaster. If a torch rally will be a harrowing reminder of the continuing injustice to victims, the tragedy will also be remembered through poetry, street play and felicitation of survivors.

On the night of Dec 2-3, 1984, tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant, killing nearly 3,000 people instantly. It affected more than a lakh in Bhopal that night and, over the years, went on to claim more than 25,000 lives.

And now the city will remember those dead and suffering.

"On Friday, around 20,000 survivors would gather at Yadgare Shahjahani Park and later send a memorandum to the chief justice of India on the injustice being done to them," Abdul Jabbar, a survivor who runs the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udhyog Sangathan, told IANS.

"This year, several incidents took place with regard to the gas tragedy, including a long pending court verdict, a fresh group of ministers (GOM) being formed, the US president visiting India, but none could give justice to survivors. In fact, these have further wounded us."

Five other NGOs led mostly by survivors have also planned events around the anniversary of the tragedy.

"On Wednesday evening we will felicitate survivor-activists who are over 60 years of age, there would be a play by second generation survivors and poetry recitation by local poets," Satinath Sarangi, of the NGO Bhopal Gas Information and Action, told IANS.

On Thursday, effigies of Union Carbide, Dow Chemical and others would be burnt. In the evening, a torch rally would be carried out by survivors. On Friday, survivors will hold a mass rally and street plays.

"The central government has gone back on its word regarding the setting up of the Empowered Commission on Bhopal. Both in the meeting of the Committee of Secretaries chaired by the prime minister June 3, 2008 and that of the Group of Ministers on Bhopal June 22, 2008, it was decided that a commission with necessary funds and authority for long term medical care and rehabilitation of the survivors and their children would be set up.

"However, in its June 2010 meeting the Group of Ministers on Bhopal chose to ignore this decision," said Balkrishan Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangarsh Morcha.

Sayed M. Irfan of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha said: "We strongly condemn the central government's deliberate neglect of extraditing the authorised representatives of Union Carbide Corporation, US and Union Carbide Eastern, Hong Kong that has now been reincarnated as Union Carbide Asia Pacific Inc and Union Carbide Asia Ltd.

"The government has not taken the tiniest step against these corporations who have been absconding from the criminal case for 18 years. Despite promises made by the Group of Ministers, a fresh request for extradition of prime accused Warren Anderson remains to be sent to the US government."






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