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Candle-light vigil & torchlight rallies mark eve of 25th Anniversary of Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Thursday, December 03, 2009 07:22:50 PM, Pervez Bari

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Bhopal: On the eve of Bhopal gas tragedy, the world’s worst disaster, a series of torchlight rallies and candle light vigils were held after darkness fell tonight as victims and activists jointly commemorated a night of horror 25 years ago when lethal gas leaked from the American Union Carbide pesticide plant killing and maiming several thousands of people.


During the daytime on Wednesday seminars and conferences were organized by NGOs working for the welfare of the survivors to highlight their unending woes for the last 25 years and to express solidarity with them in their fight for justice. Jan Sangharsh Morcha in collaboration with Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udhyog Sangathan held a National Meet on “Destructive Industrialization and Distorted Development” to seriously examine the factors that make such a massacre possible, and what lessons have been learnt (or not learnt) from it? How do we stop more ‘Bhopals’?

What is the nature of the industrialization and development paradigm that make such violence possible, and are our governments not pushing us down a path that lead to many, many more Bhopals?.


First immediately after sunset Sambhavna Trust Clinic staff and their friends with their families organized a silent candle-light vigil in New Market for an hour to pay tributes to those who perished in the disaster and the survivors who are suffering from a host of diseases.


Meanwhile, The Bhopal Group of Information and Action, (BGIA), including the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karmchari Sangh and Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha and other NGOs took out the torchlight rally to the abandoned Union Carbide factory. After lighting torches, the victims — mostly women widowed by the gas leak — marched from Bhopal Talkies to the defunct Union Carbide factory about two kilometers away followed by a commemoration ceremony and movie screening on the disaster. The victims in the torchlight procession raised slogans to express their anger towards the killer Union Carbide management and its new owner Dow Chemicals. They demanded justice and a life of dignity.

They said that it is the collusion between the central and state governments with Union Carbide and its owner Dow Chemicals that is responsible for the denial of justice in the case of the world's worst corporate massacre. They also urged Dow to clean up the site which contains thousands of tons of toxic chemicals.


It may be recalled here that on the fateful intervening night of December 2/3, 1984 nearly 40 tonnes of MIC and other lethal gases spewed out of the Union Carbide Corporation’s pesticide plant in Bhopal, exposing over 5,00,000 people to the toxic fumes. While 25,000-35,000 people have died since then and hundreds of thousands of persons have been maimed for life.















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