Press Conference: Bhopal Survivors to garner support from political parties on lingering issues of compensation, punishment of guilty corporations and medical and social rehabilitation.
At a press conference last week five organizations working among the survivors of the December 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal announced their plans to garner support of political parties towards resolving the lingering issues of compensation, punishment of guilty corporations and medical and social rehabilitation.
The organisations represented were the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha, the Bhopal Group for Information and Action and Children Against Dow Carbide.
The organizations presented copies of letters sent to a dozen political parties asking their stand with respect to eight demands on additional compensation for the gas disaster, correction of figures of injury and death caused by the disaster, clean up of contaminated soil and ground water, compensation for injuries and birth defects caused by toxic contamination, setting up empowered commission for rehabilitation and stopping Dow Chemical from doing business in India till it presents Union Carbide in the ongoing criminal case on the disaster.
The organizations said that they have asked the political parties to describe the steps they would take to make the governments at the state and the centre agree to the demands of the victims of Union Carbide in Bhopal in case a party supports the demands of the survivors organizations.
The Bhopal survivors’ organizations said that they will decide on their strategy regarding the coming elections in the state on the basis of the response they get from political parties who have been given a month to reply. They said that if none of the parties support the demands of the gas victims or do not send their replies within a month, the organizations would be encouraging voters in the gas-affected areas to exercise their right to “null voting”.
The organizations said that currently they are educating voters in the areas affected by the December 1984 disaster to ask candidates of political parties who are visiting them in preparation of the elections about their and their party’s contributions towards justice and welfare of Union Carbide’s victims.
The organizations appealed to the survivors of the Bhopal disaster to make judicious and strategic use of their power to elect candidates so that the lingering issues of the disaster are resolved in their favour.