Bhopal: The representatives of the five NGOs (non-Government organizations) working for the welfare of the survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy, world’s worst industrial catastrophe, have condemned the United States government for its attempt to protect Dow Chemical from ongoing criminal proceedings in the Bhopal District court.
The NGOs in a statement said that on Saturday the December 19, 2003 was the third time that Dow Chemical had ignored the notice to appear in the Bhopal district court. They said that the US Department of Justice has informed the CBI that it has decided not to serve the notices against Dow Chemical as it held that Dow Chemical could not be held liable for the Union Carbide disaster.
Counsel for one of the organizations, Bhopal Group for Information & Action, Avi Singh said the US Department of Justice’s refusal to serve notice on Dow was against the principle of international cooperation against crime as enshrined in the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
Mr. Singh pointed out that Dow Chemical refers to the Bhopal court’s notice upon its own website and has thus publicly acknowledged the summons. Accordingly there was no need for further notice to be served on Dow.
On behalf of the Bhopal Group for Information & Action, Mr. Singh moved an application in the court to commence ex-parte proceedings against Dow Chemical as well as refer them for contempt of court, and filing of a FIR under sections 174 (obstruction of a public official) and 212 (harbouring a fugitive) of the IPC, (Indian Penal Code).
The application by the Bhopal Group for Information and Act also sought commencement of the criminal trial against UCC.
It may be recalled here that on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984 Union Carbide pesticide manufacturing factory had spewed poisonous Methyl Iso-cyanate gas whereby 3000 people had perished virtually instantly and over the years more than 25000 have kissed death and the sad saga is still continuing uninterruptedly. About half a million are suffering from the side effects of the poisonous gas and several thousand people have been maimed for ife. (firstname.lastname@example.org)