Bhopal holocaust victims troop to Anna

NEW DELHI: These families have been waiting for justice for more than 26 years. The disaster that struck on a December night changed the lives of not only the survivors but also of their future generations. Still battling with the effects of the gas that poisoned them, injustice and their economically weak condition, these men and women have extended their support to anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare. Survivors of the disaster arrived in the Capital on Tuesday to meet Anna. They say that with the passing of the Jan Lokpal bill many issues surrounding the tragedy can be solved. Moreover, they believe that it shall also prevent future industrial accidents.

Satinath Sarangi, president of Bhopal Group for Information and Action, said they were not affected by just one disaster that took place way back in 1984. “There is another disaster still at play – the toxic poisoning of the environment that continues. In the past 27 years, corruption is the only significant issue because of which justice has been denied to them, the victims have not received proper medical care and the environment has not been rehabilitated,” said Sarangi. An activist associated with the gas tragedy, Sarangi said the passing of the Jan Lokpal Bill will not only ensure justice to these victims but also prevent accidents in future.

Sarangi was accompanied by 15 victims of the tragedy. Recounting the horror of the cold December night in Bhopal, Shahid Noor, 34, one of the survivors, said that chaos reigned everywhere when his father opened the door to see what was suffocating his family. “Everyone was shouting ‘run, run’ and we all started running. In the rush we forgot my mother, younger brother and grandfather in the house,” said Noor.

Noor says his entire family was separated in the rush. And later he found out that gas poisoning had claimed the lives of his mother, father and younger brother.

Hadra Bi, 56, a social worker and also a survivor, was 28 when the deadly cloud of gas escaped from Union Carbide India and killed thousands. Although Hadra survived the accident, it did leave a mark on her family. “My son cannot do laborious work and my daughter was born with disability,” said Hadra. A mother of two, Hadra hopes that the Jan Lokpal will be able to prevent such a disaster that altered their lives forever.

Firdos Noor, who was seven at that time, lost her father and grandfather. Noor says she still feels nauseous and falls sick every other day. “I keep taking antibiotics as I do not keep well,” she says.

Source: The Times of India

Girl with candle Bhopal

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