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Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 52, December 12, 2009

Letter to PM on the 25th Anniversary of Bhopal Tragedy

Saturday 12 December 2009, by Abdul Jabbar Khan, N D Jayaprakash

Respected Sir,

On behalf of the Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sanghathan (BGPMUS) and the Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti (BGPSSS), we, the undersigned, are baffled and shocked over the UPA and the Congress party’s silence regarding the 25th anniversary of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

We cannot help notice that your honourable self had led the nation in paying homage to the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her 25th death anniversary. We gather from personal knowledge and through media reports that a series of events were lined up to commemorate Indira Gandhi’s death anniversary from October 31, 2009 to November 19, 2009, which happens to be Indiraji’s birth anniversary.

However, sir, we wonder why your honourable self and Smt Sonia Gandhi, the Chairperson of the UPA, have not proposed any plans to commemorate the memory of those who perished in the world’s largest industrial disaster. Propriety demands that you visit Bhopal on December 3, 2009 and lead the nation in paying homage to the gas-victims on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy. We also wish to draw your attention to the fact that till date there has been no White Paper on the tragedy, no memorial has been erected in remembrance of the victims, and the perpetrators of the crime have not been punished even today.

We wish to remind you that the Bhopal gas leak disaster of December 2/3, 1984, which resulted from the escape of extremely toxic gases from the premises of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL), a pesticide plant controlled by the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), USA, had resulted in the death of over 20,000 people and had caused injuries to over 550,000 others. The official toll of dead and injured gas-victims as determined by the Office of the Welfare Commissioner, Bhopal, through the process of adjudication is 574,367.

Therefore, the enormity of the tragedy is huge by any standard. However, we regret to say that the response of the Central and States governments in terms of medical, economic, and social relief and rehabilitation has not been commensurate with the magnitude or grievousness of the disaster. The utter callous attitude of successive governments towards the fate of the gas victims is exemplified by the thoughtless manner in which the ICMR stopped all medical research on the long term effects of the toxic gases on the gas-exposed population of Bhopal way back in 1994.

Dear sir, we again earnestly urge you to visit Bhopal on December 3, 2009 so that you could not only pay homage to the victims of the tragedy but also make a direct assessment of the travails that the survivors are continuing to face even 25 years of the tragedy. We would also submit to you a separate memorandum detailing out the numerous concerns of the gas-victims that the Central Government should address.

We do hope you would respond positively to our request.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,

Abdul Jabbar Khan

(Convener)

Bhopal Gas Peedith Bhopal Gas Peedith

Mahila Udyog Sanghathan,

51, Rajender Nagar, Bhopal-462010 158,

Tel: 0755-2730241 Mobile: 094065-11720

E-mail: swabhimankandra@rediffmail.com

N.D. Jayaprakash (Co-convener)

Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti,

C/o Delhi Science Forum, Saket, New Delhi-110017

Tel: 011-27666980 Mobile: 099680-14630

E-mail: jaypdsf@gmail.com

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