Protest, street play, prayer meet mark the 35th anniversary of Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Bhopal: Third generation of gas survivors took to streets seeking justice, rehabilitation, and better healthcare on 35th anniversary of Bhopal Gas Tragedy on Tuesday. Protest marches and all-religion prayer meeting marked day with organisations working for the survivors alleging that successive governments have denied them justice. Children of the survivors staged a musical street play bringing to life the grief and misery their families have been going through last 35 years. In an emotional presentation, the children spoke about the fallout and the problems being faced by the survivors of the world worst industrial disaster. Leak of 40 tonnes of deadly methyl isocyanate gas from Union Carbide's pesticide plant here on the intervening night of December 2 and 3, 1984, killed over 5,000 people and injured thousands of others. There are 5.70 lakh gas survivors in the city and even after 35 years their plight and misery continues. They demanded adequate compensation and proper medical treatment for the survivors, and stringent punishment for those responsible for the disaster. Calling attention to the chemically contaminated water people are forced to consume in gas-affected areas, the young crusaders demanded the government to ensure piped-water supply. Nearly 22 residential colonies are affected with dumped heavy metals and chemicals in UCC plant site.

Organisations working for the survivors of the tragedy took out protest marches in Old Bhopal area, where the Union Carbide factory, now defunct, stands. The survivors pressed for, compensation to 5.7 lakh gas victim, better healthcare, piped water in 22 gas affected colonies and total cleanup of hazardous chemicals lying at Union Carbide Plant site.

District-in-charge minister Govind Singh, addressing gas victims at Yadgar-e-Shahjahani Park, assured of better medical care and all necessary support to the gas –affected. Addressing a condolence meeting organized to mourn the death of activist Abdul Jabbar of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, the minister said that state government was committed to ensure justice for all survivors of the disaster. MLA Arif Masood said, “We will take forward the crusade of Abdul Jabbar in the interest of gas survivors. I will raise the issue before the Chief Minister Kamal Nath for the justice of the gas victims.”

State to become an intervener in curative petition: Sharma

Law and legislative minister PC Sharma said, “State government will become an intervener in curative petition of Union Government pending in Supreme Court seeking more compensation with rectifying figurers of deaths and injured in Bhopal gas tragedy.” The apex court has agreed to hear the Centre’s curative petition seeking Rs 7,844 crore from the successor companies of Union Carbide, to provide compensation to the gas victims. Union government’s petition has put the number of deaths at 5,295, and the number of wounded at 5,27,894. The Centre said in its plea that the earlier estimates did not account for the deaths and losses caused due to environmental degradation following the disaster.

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