Press Pack, 34th Anniversary of Bhopal Disaster

Here’s Why the Bhopal Disaster Remains a Relevant Story

Suraj Malom Singh, 15, born to parents exposed to the contaminated water in Bhopal. Suraj has severe cerebral palsy.

As awareness of abuse grows, people want corporations held to account for their actions; corporations, on the other hand, look to keep accountability at bay.

The story of the Bhopal Disaster can be seen as an ultimate manifestation of corporate abuse and one which serves as a template of accountability avoidance. Last year, a merger between Dow Chemical and DuPont Nemours added layers of complication to the corporate veil sat between the alleged malefactors and proper accountability.

Now, regulatory filings have been made, ahead of the newly merged DowDuPont splitting into three new entities, with no mention of any Bhopal related liabilities- despite there being major court cases, against Union Carbide Corporation, still existing in India.

Union Carbide has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical since 2001 and remains wanted for ‘culpable homicide’ for its part in the Bhopal Disaster. So, what happens to this liability once the new corporate entities are formed? What happens to any of the other contamination liabilities of any other historical parts of the old Dow or the old DuPont? What are the implications for contamination issues elsewhere?

This year, the continuing disaster situation in Bhopal has been shown to be growing at an alarming pace. The number of communities hitherto acknowledged as being exposed to water contaminated by Union Carbide’s toxic chemicals, is now known to have increased from 22 to 44- representing tens of thousands of families.

On the night of December 2nd/ 3rd it will be 34 years since the Bhopal Disaster began taking lives and this document will explain, key issues surrounding the ongoing contamination disaster, the unresolved legal cases, and the corporate manoeuvring which appears designed to further distance disaster survivors from justice.

 

Here you will find a range of fact sheets, background information and story ideas. Please scroll down for links. Further information on all aspects of the Bhopal Disaster can be found at: www.bhopal.org or by contacting the Bhopal Medical Appeal: +44 (0)1273 603278 info@bhopal.org

We offer free-of-charge access to striking, award-winning photographs and are delighted to offer, among others, a multiple award winning series (including Sony World Press Photo nomination) by Getty Images photographer Giles Clarke: http://www.gilesnclarke.com/toxic-trespass

Our years of research on every issue connected with the disaster ensure any aspect of the story can be tackled with confidence. We always provide reliable sources for our material and can arrange interviews from key players and influential commentators in Bhopal and elsewhere.

Concise Briefings:

Stories:

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US  Chemical Multinationals Slice and Dice Toxic Assets – yet Another Attempt to Avoid Liabilities and Indian Court Judgments

Abandoned Union Carbide factory, Bhopal. Courtesy: (c) Greenpeace/ Raghu Rai

Abandoned Union Carbide factory, Bhopal.

The newly formed (2017) DowDuPont is proposed, in 2018, to split into three new companies and regulatory filings have already been made with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

The three new entities will include a new Dow and the filings state that it will inherit Union Carbide’s asbestos related  liabilities in the US but say nothing about Bhopal. It would seem that Dow either knows something we don’t or simply considers itself above the law and untouchable outside of the US.

The official Securities and Exchange Commission filings of a major American multinational corporation are, by removing any reference to Bhopal, denying the authority of the legal system within a rapidly developing nation, and major trading partner of the United States.

Further detail: Potential Bhopal Liabilities not Revealed in Regulatory Filings

A closer examination of this story reveals issues suggesting that Dow’s ability to trade and invest in India has long been hindered by its inability or refusal to correctly address the Bhopal issue.

Dow’s ownership of Union Carbide, the ‘proclaimed absconder’ from the Indian Justice system, sees a complex corporate veil maintained to conceal an alleged trading fraud of immense scale.

FULL DETAIL: Bhopal Liabilities not Revealed / Corporate Veil and Possible Trading Fraud Issues

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Indian Institue of Toxicological Research Confirms Massive Increase in Number of Communties Exposed to Contaminated Water

Groundwater being collected from a handpump near to the Union Carbide factory. Photo: © Andy Spyra

The Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR) has now submitted its latest report, regarding the contamination of groundwater in Bhopal communities, to the apex committee of the Supreme Court. The report confirms excessive levels of nitrate, chloride and heavy metals in 20 further colonies, bringing to 42 the number with groundwater contaminated by chemicals believed to have originated from toxic waste dumped by Union Carbide. Thousands of people remain using this groundwater as their primary supply.

The report indicated the presence of alpha naphthol in the samples and according to the petitioner in the matter, Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA), this vindicates the assumption that toxic waste, dumped by Union Carbide, is the source of the contamination

Rachna Dhingra, co-convenor of BGIA, said: “The report confirms presence of nitrate, chloride and heavy metals in the samples, but most remarkable, it has found alpha naphthol in the samples, an ingredient used by Union Carbide in the production of methyl isocyanate (MIC). They also had an alpha naphthol plant within the Carbide premises. This makes it amply clear that soil and ground water in areas adjacent to Carbide plant is being contaminated by spread of toxic material from inside the plant, which the company used to dump as waste”.

The Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR) Report, Analysis of Drinking Water Samples From Bhopal (Ground Water Samples). 12 June 2018.

Water Samples Collected at 20 More Affected Communities in Bhopal

Water contamination briefing

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Is The Disaster Settled? Dow Chemical Says It Is.

Is The Disaster Settled? Dow Chemical Says It Is.

No it is not. Dow Chemical claims that “A full and final settlement, of $470m, was made in 1989” but the Government of India’s (GoI) official position is that the “gross inadequacy” of the 1989 settlement resulted in an “irremediable injustice”.

  • The GoI seeks an additional settlement amount in excess of $1 billion via a ‘curative petition’ in the Delhi Supreme Court. The GoI is seeking additional compensation, based on higher figures for the dead and injured, greater than $1billion. Additional filings in support of the petition request up to $8.1 billion.
  • Union Carbide has never answered the criminal charges relating to the disaster and they remain outstanding. Dow has been served, on four separate occasions, to attend the Bhopal Chief Judicial Magistrates Court (CJM) to explain Union carbide’s non-appearance. Dow failed to attend on every occasion.
  • In Jan 2017, the CJM in Bhopal, issued summons directly, via email, to Amy Wilson, corporate secretary of Dow. Ms.Wilson did not attend the court and neither has she attended any subsequent hearing to which she has been summoned.
  • The new Dow, to be created on April 1st, 2018, will inherit Union Carbide, along with its liabilities. Regulatory filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission acknowledge Union Carbide’s asbestos related liabilities in the US but not any related to Bhopal.
  • Dow Chemical is subject to environmental litigation in the Madhya Pradesh High Court. Dow has been asked to provide a $15 million advance payment but refuses to do so.

Outstanding Court Cases Briefing: https://bhopal.org/the-dow-chemical-companys-bhopal-related-legal-liabilities/

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Dow’s Legal Defence

Sign in Control Room, Union Carbide Factory

Control Room, abandoned Union Carbide factory, Bhopal

Dow’s Legal Defence

The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) claims it is not responsible for the acts of the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC). It claims to have no control over its wholly-owned subsidiary and cannot make it face the Bhopal criminal courts.

  • But, Dow owns 100% of UCC’s shares, elects every director to UCC’s board and is UCC’s only ‘customer’.
  • Dow has the legal power to control, and therefore the legal responsibility for, UCC’s current behaviour with regards to Bhopal.
  • Dow also claims that UCC had no control over Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) the company that owned and operated the Bhopal factory but UCC never owned less than a 50.9% controlling interest in Union Carbide India Ltd.
  • If, as Dow states, the $470m civil settlement paid by UCC in 1989 is full and final then Dow must accept that UCC was culpable.

Dows’ Ownership of Union Carbide. Legal Defence Briefing: https://bhopal.org/dows-flawed-legal-defence-exposed/
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Bhopal’s Second Disaster

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Children with water carriers at the wall of the abandoned factory

Bhopal’s Second Disaster

At least fifty thousand people have been using a toxic groundwater aquifer as their primary water supply for decades. The water drawn from this aquifer is contaminated with highly toxic chemicals leaching into it from thousands of tonnes of waste dumped, then abandoned, by Union Carbide. In 2018, further tests on water samples have shown that the number of communities acknowledged as being exposed to water contaminated by Union Carbide’s toxic chemicals has increased from 22 to 44- representing tens of thousands of families.

  • Thousands of tonnes of toxic waste, abandoned in and around the Union Carbide factory while it was in production, continue to contaminate the area and the aquifer.
  • Toxic chemicals leach down in to the ground water aquifer that has been used as a primary water source for decades.
  • These highly toxic chemicals attack all of the body’s organs, some are carcinogens, and some cause birth defects.
  • Union Carbide was aware of the contamination, after carrying out tests in the area, but chose to keep the findings secret.
  • The US courts accepted that the water contamination is a separate issue from the gas disaster.
  • Union Carbide/ Dow Chemical will not accept any responsibility

Second Disaster Briefing: https://bhopal.org/second-disaster/

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Corporate Abuse/ the Corporate Veil

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Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty inspects the abandoned factory

Corporate Abuse/ the Corporate Veil

Union Carbide, and subsequently Dow, hide behind a corporate veil hoping to avoid the legal aftermath of the Bhopal Disaster. More recently, Dow has utilised another layer of that veil, using affiliates and subsidiaries such as DCIPL (Dow Chemical India Private Limited), to continue trading in India whilst avoiding an attachment order against Union Carbide’s goods.

  • UCC is banned from trading in India due to its non-appearance in the Bhopal criminal proceedings but Dow has knowingly flouted the ban. An Indian government run business was forced to withdraw from a contract with Dow after a statement was retracted claiming that Dow owned a particular technology.
  • From 1987 onwards, UCC used third party agents to deliberately disguise the origin of its goods to port authorities and customs officials in India. The fraud was designed to enable UCC to evade court attachment orders intended to compel its appearance in court on charges relating to the Bhopal Disaster.
  • Dow declares to Indian courts that it has no business, assets or personnel in India, and that UCC is an entirely separate company. Leaked Dow emails, published by The Times of India, demonstrate a clear integration across a range of Dow affiliates and show UCC’s purported separateness from Dow to be a “self-serving fraud.”
  • Dow claims that it has not settled any UCC liabilities. But, it has accepted liability for asbestos claims against UCC in the United States. When DOW settled a suit on behalf of UCC on Jan 9, 2002, it wiped $7.16 billion from DOW’s share price.
  • Dow has sought to use economic muscle and U.S. government influence to pressure the Government of India into releasing it from its Bhopal liabilities. In 2010, U.S. national security official Michael Froman, one of President Obama’s top economic advisors, threatened that the lawful pursuit of Dow, within India’s courts, could “have a chilling effect upon our investment relationship.”

Dow trading Union Carbide goods in India: https://bhopal.org/anger-in-india-as-leaked-documents-reveal-that-fugitive-union-carbide-continues-to-trade/

Corporate veil between Dow Chemical and Union Carbide: https://bhopal.org/beyond-belief/

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News

The World’s Worst Industrial Disaster Still Going After 34 Years

Protesters demanding justice for Bhopal Disaster survivors at a torchlight rally

Protesters demanding justice for Bhopal Disaster survivors at a torchlight rally

The World’s Worst Industrial Disaster Still Going After 34 Years

The 2nd/ 3rd December 2017, the 34th anniversary of the Bhopal Disaster, sees a cry for justice as another year passes by.

While serious criminal charges remain outstanding, against the American corporation with overall responsibility for the toxic mess in Bhopal, survivors and campaigners discover that a recent merger between Dow Chemical and DuPont may have made their chances for justice more remote than ever (see: UN Official Says Bhopal Disaster Victims May Never Get Compensation Following Dow-DuPont Merger ).

Nonetheless, the anniversary occasion is marked with what has become a traditional series of torchlight rallies, vigils, protests and the burning of effigies. The old part of Bhopal, where the worst of the disaster was felt, witnesses a non-stop, three-day cacophony of noise.

But something has stirred in the newer part of Bhopal, the wealthier side of town much less affected by the disaster, as the student population awakens to the realization that Bhopal must not be forgotten, not only for the sake of the old city but for the rest of the world.

There is theatre, art, photography, music and rappers but the spirit is of one with the other side of town as both cry for justice while they honour and remember the dead.

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Bhopal v Deepwater Horizon

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Bhopal v Deepwater Horizon

Although BP has, quite rightly, been held to account for its part in the Deepwater Horizon disaster and paid out in the region of $50bn of fines and damages, it’s nonetheless easy to see why people in the affected area think it simply isn’t enough.

But, how do the same people feel about the damages paid by US multi-national Union Carbide to settle the civil claims surrounding the Bhopal Disaster in which many thousands of people lost their lives?

How the Deepwater Horizon settlement compares to the Bhopal settlement: https://bhopal.org/bp-bhopal-and-the-department-of-justice/

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After 34 Years, Legal Justice Continues to Elude Survivors of the Bhopal Disaster

Bhopal Disaster 31st anniversary

After 34 Years, Legal Justice Continues to Elude Survivors of the Bhopal Disaster

Before 2018, a total of five notices to attend the Bhopal Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court (CJM) were served on Dow Chemical. The US multinational chemical corporation is required to explain why its wholly-owned subsidiary has not appeared before the court to answer the criminal charges of culpable homicide which remain outstanding 34 years after the disaster.

None of the American accused have ever shown for trial and apparent violations of a bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, on the part of the US Government, had been preventing due process being exercised with every notice sent from Bhopal stalled with the Department of Justice.

In January 2017, the CJM in Bhopal, issued summons directly, via email, to Amy Wilson, corporate secretary of Dow. Ms. Wilson did not attend the court and neither did she attend a second hearing to which she was summoned. A third summons has now been issued requiring Ms.Wilson to attend court in Bhopal on the 15th November 2017.

Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director for Global Issues, said: “The time has come for Dow to appear in an Indian court and account for the failure of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Union Carbide, to respond to the criminal charges against it.”

A New York class action, based on claims initiated by Bhopal residents, appears to have reached the end of the road earlier this year in what can only be described as controversial circumstances, when a New York Court of Appeals rejected a petition for rehearing without a single comment.

The experience has left behind the sense of a judicial process highly affected by the politics of multinational commerce. The lawsuit “has not been treated like other pollution cases”, asserted legal NGO Earthrights, which worked with survivor plaintiffs on the case, “and the courts have ignored legal doctrines that should establish Union Carbide’s responsibility.”

Campaigners remain confident that legal redress may still remain possible in the criminal courts whilst a hearing is expected to be announced imminently for an Indian Government curative petition aiming to address what the Indian Government describes as the ‘gross inadequacy’ of the 1989 settlement with UCC which resulted in an ‘irremediable injustice’.

If things go the way of the disaster survivors, in the curative petition, then Dow Chemical may find itself liable for anything up to $8billion.

Bhopal-related court cases in which Dow or Union Carbide are involved:

https://bhopal.org/the-dow-chemical-companys-bhopal-related-legal-liabilities/

History of Sahu II NY class action: https://bhopal.org/sahu-ii/

History of Bano, Sahu I & II class actions: https://bhopal.org/brief-history-of-the-three-class-actions/

A flawed legal defence: https://bhopal.org/dows-flawed-legal-defence-exposed

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Study Confirms Worst Health Fears of Disaster Survivors

Patients waiting to be seen by a doctor at the Sambhavna Clinic. The Sambhavna Clinic provides free medical treatment to those affected by the gas or suffering from illnesses caused by the contaminated water.

Patients waiting to be seen by a doctor at the Sambhavna Clinic.

Study Confirms Worst Health Fears of Disaster Survivors

The preliminary findings of a ground-breaking study, performed by the Sambhavna Trust Clinic, have revealed that cancer incidence, in people exposed to the methyl isocynate (MIC) gas leak of the 1984 Bhopal Disaster, is ten times greater than in the unexposed population. The preliminary findings also indicate that, compared to unexposed parents, children are born with congenital malformations at much higher rates to parents with acute exposure to toxic gas or chronic exposure to contaminated water.

According to the study, lung, abdominal, throat and oral cancers are significantly higher in both the gas exposed group and the group exposed to the gas and contaminated water. Gas exposed women were found to have suffered significantly larger number of abortions while significantly larger number of children born to gas exposed and contaminated ground water exposed parents had birth defects.

The study was performed, over seven years, by a team of researchers from the clinic on an unprecedented sample size of 100,000, including: gas affected; water affected; gas & water affected; plus, a control group, comprised of 25,000 from each. Over 2,500 children with possible birth defects were identified in the study population. Of these, over 1700 were diagnosed with congenital anomaly by 30 doctors from different parts of the country.

According to Ritesh Pal, of the Community Research Unit in the clinic: “While the analysis of the data is ongoing, preliminary findings suggest that, compared to an unexposed population, the incidence of congenital anomalies was much higher in the populations exposed to toxic gas and contaminated groundwater.” He went on to say that: “The study shows that, in comparison to unexposed families, gas and contaminated ground water exposed families have significantly larger number of people with TB, paralysis and cancers and that the rate of cancers of gas exposed people is more than ten times of unexposed people.”

The Sambhavna Clinic provides free medical care to the survivors of the gas disaster and residents from the neighbourhoods around the abandoned Union Carbide factory exposed to contaminated groundwater. Over 31 thousand survivors of the disaster are registered for treatment there and the clinic’s unique feature is the integration of three different systems of treatment; modern medicine, Ayurveda and Yoga.

The clinic is largely funded by donations, made to the Bhopal Medical Appeal, from 15,000 concerned individuals in the UK and India. International bestselling writer Dominique Lapierre regularly contributes to the gynaecology clinic and the informal school run by Sambhavna.

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The Work of a Remarkable Clinic

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The Work of a Remarkable Clinic

The Sambhavna Clinic, in Bhopal, India, treats the survivors of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy along with thousands more people, mostly from poor, slum areas, who have been slowly poisoned by the toxic waste abandoned at the site of the disaster and contaminating their water supply. Sambhavna is found right at the ‘ground zero’ of the Bhopal Disaster, in the worst affected slum area, but shines like a beacon of hope out of a difficult, dusty despair. To date the clinic, funded by the Bhopal Medical Appeal, has treated more than 43,000 people. It employs around 50 staff, over half of whom are survivors of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster.

Sambhavna has a remarkable, groundbreaking approach using a combination of treatments and strives to give the patients a complete, systemic relief from their health problems. The clinic produces ayurvedic medicines, from plants grown in its own organic garden, and prescribes these alongside western, pharmaceutical medicines. Additional therapies are given using panchkarma, massage and yoga and the clinic is achieving incredible results.

Remarkably, at Sambhavna the ancient, Indian art of yoga is taught to both Hindu and Muslim patients alike by a female, Muslim instructor.

Among many other accolades, the Sambhavna clinic was invited to present a paper to the World Asthma Conference on the positive effects on respiratory disorders achieved at Sambhavna through yoga.

“My main recollection is that as an example of a holistic, environmentally sound, community focused and patient centred approach to health-care the Sambhavna clinic is way ahead of anything I have ever visited or worked in, anywhere in the world.”

Dr. John Hurst, Senior Lecturer/ Honorary Consultant, UCL Medical School/ Royal Free Hampstead Trust.

The Sambhavna Clinic: https://bhopal.org/about-us/sambhavna-clinic/

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Gassed, Then Poisoned by a Toxic Environment

Residents of A.A.Nagar, Bhopal, Pumping Water from a Contaminated Groundwater Source

Residents of A.A.Nagar, Bhopal, Pumping Water from a Contaminated Groundwater Source

Gassed, Then Poisoned by a Toxic Environment

Thousands of people are being poisoned in Bhopal today. Hundreds of thousands were gassed, 32 years ago but, since that dreadful time, tens of thousands more have been poisoned just by drinking water pumped up in their wells and boreholes.

Vital information on the contamination problem was concealed, allowing the water to be used in ignorance of the harm it would wreak on the health of the local population.

The contamination was first publicly revealed by Greenpeace in 1999 but, inexplicably, remains unaddressed today. Why?

A full contamination survey has never been performed and the extent of the poisoning remains unknown. Why?

The United Nations Environment Programme offered to perform a contamination assessment but the Indian Government will not issue the required formal invitation. Why?

Dow Chemical is a named respondent in public interest litigation in the Madhya Pradesh High Court seeking environmental remediation but continues to resist the Ministry’s 2006 request for a £16 million deposit towards initial costs. Why?

Bhopal’s Second Disaster: https://bhopal.org/second-disaster/

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A Healing Garden Grows in Bhopal

Plants grown to produce Ayyurvedic medicine

Plants grown to produce Ayyurvedic medicine

A Healing Garden Grows in Bhopal

The Sambhavna Clinic’s purpose designed building adopts a fully sustainable ethic. Not only is the building naturally cooled, and powered by solar energy, but the garden is a fully functioning, organic farm growing medicinal herbs and plants. A small manufacturing unit, in one corner of the garden, turns these plants into various ayurvedic ointments, decoctions and tablets.

Some of these plants will be familiar to us, back in the UK, either as garden plants or, given the difference in climate, quite often as our own indoor house plants. Using these plants, Sambhavna produces ayurvedic medicines according to traditional recipes. Some of them are dispensed traditionally, in plant form, but they are just as often dispensed in a modern form after, for example, being pressed into tablets and sealed in a blister pack.

But, one of the main aims of Sambhavna is to educate members of the communities still exposed to chemical contamination and teach them how to look after their own health and, to that end, the garden plays a major role. Patients are encouraged to grow their own beneficial plants and are trained as to how they should use them as medicine.

The Sambhavna Clinic: https://bhopal.org/about-us/sambhavna-clinic/

A Healing Garden Grows (YouTube, 2009): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CexBTtg6Fjk

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“We Are Flames Not Flowers”

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“We Are Flames Not Flowers”

After the gas disaster had robbed many families of their breadwinner the women of Bhopal found themselves without support. The toxic gas ensured a terrible legacy for women’s health and a spate of birth defects of epidemic proportions

In a deeply traditional society, this marked the women as ‘unmarriageable’. Widowed Bhopali women, along with those seen as unsuitable to wed, would need to emerge from behind the veil and seize control of a desperate situation.

Two powerful, determined women, Rashida Bi & Champa Devi, inspired an entire women’s movement in this male-dominated society and their work won international recognition, in 2004, with the Goldman Environmental Award. Despite being, themselves, the sole breadwinners of their respective families, they chose to donate the award to found a trust for the well-being of Bhopal’s gas victims.

Chingari is an all-women’s trust that represents the spirit of resilience amongst Bhopal survivors most notably the women who have refused to cow down and accept defeat. Their rallying cry, which inspired the trust’s name and symbol, crystallizes their indomitable spirit:

Hum Bhopal ke nari hain’

Hum phool nahin, chingari hain.

(We are the women of Bhopal,

We are flames, not flowers.

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Serendipity and the Birth of a Medical Appeal for Bhopal

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Serendipity and the Birth of a Medical Appeal for Bhopal

Interview with legendary copywriter and Booker Prize shortlisted author Indra Sinha whose long association with Bhopal as a copywriter for The Bhopal Medical Appeal recently ended.

Animal’s People is a fictional account of the aftermath of the Bhopal Disaster but acclaimed writer Indra Sinha’s association with the Bhopal Disaster began long before the book was published.

Sinha, alongside Bhopal Campaigner Satinath Sarangi founded the Bhopal Medical Appeal in 1996 after Sarangi travelled to the UK and tracked Sinha down. Sinha had written an immensely successful, thought provoking newspaper appeal ad for Amnesty, and Sarangi pleaded with him to write an appeal to support the Bhopal victims.

The first ad elicited such a generous response that Sarangi was able to purchase a small building and establish the first Sambhavna clinic for the Bhopal survivors. The Sambhavna Trust Clinic and the Bhopal Medical Appeal, founded by two who dared to dream now celebrated, in 2017 a 21st anniversary of keeping hope alive in Bhopal.

Shortly prior to his retirement, charity fundraising website Sofii had this to say about Sinhha.

“…the world’s greatest living fundraising copywriter is still writing great ads and still pushing the boundaries of what can and should be said in the interests of truth and justice, to raise money for one of the world’s great causes, to help right one of the world’s great wrongs.”

Ken Burnett, Showcase of Fundraising Ideas and Inspiration.

Milestone Anniversaries for Sambhavna and Chingari Trusts: https://bhopal.org/special-anniversaries-for-sambhavna-and-chingari-clinics/

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Toxic Trespass by Giles Clarke (Getty Reportage)

BHOPAL, INDIA: Sameer, 16 years old, held by his mother Wahida at home in the Jamalpura neighborhood.

Sameer, 16 years old, held by his mother Wahida.

Toxic Trespass by Giles Clarke (Getty Reportage)

We are proud to offer a stunning multi award winning series of photos by Giles Clarke. Available free of charge on request from the Bhopal Medical Appeal, these stunning pictures show the harsh reality of slum life in the contaminated areas around the abandoned Union Carbide factory in Bhopal.

The series clearly illustrates how the suffering caused by the effects of this toxic landscape has now passed in to a third generation.

A representative selection from this powerful series can be seen here: http://www.gilesnclarke.com/toxic-trespass

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Selection of photos available free of charge

The Bhopal Medical Appeal prides itself on the quality of its photo library and the majority of this is available for free use. Please follow this link to view a small number of sample galleries: GALLERIES there you will also find a link to view further galleries on our Flickr page. Please rest assured this represents just a small sample of the many thousands of photos in our library. In December, for the disaster’s anniversary, we expect to have photographers on the ground in Bhopal and for there to be additional, up-to-the-minute images available for use.

Bhopal Anniversary

Dow Chemical

Bhopal Disaster, Union Carbide

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Selected Quotes

  • “The victims have faced insurmountable obstacles in getting past the corporate veil of Dow and Union Carbide to find accountability and justice.”“It shocks the conscience and defies any sense of moral or ethical norms that a company believes it can simply acquire all the assets of a company, and leave potential liabilities surrounding a case such as Bhopal.“Despite recognition that parent companies influence conduct within the corporate group, victims of corporate human rights abuses linked to toxic exposure can be left without justice or remedy because courts are reluctant to pierce the corporate veil.“Furthermore, the acquisition of assets without the transfer of liabilities can deprive victims of the resources necessary to secure an effective remedy.”

Baskut Tuncak, UN Special Rapporteur on #Human Rights & Hazardous Substances & Wastes.

  • “In 1984, leakage of poisonous gases from a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal India killed thousands of people and poisoned 100s of thousands, many more in the years that followed. The catastrophe resulted from the company’s failure to correct serious design flaws, despite many warnings. Dow chemical, which now owns Union Carbide, refuses to assume responsibility for these crimes. The people of Bhopal have struggled to enforce accountability for one of the worst corporate crimes in history, and to gain some compensation for their suffering. They have every right to expect us to join them in their courageous efforts.”

Noam Chomsky.

  • Both the US and the Indian authorities have failed the people of Bhopal for too long. Successive Indian governments have failed to vigorously pursue justice in relation to the foreign corporation or clean-up the site.

President Obama should urgently compel Union Carbide to appear in the Indian court; and Prime Minister Modi should vigorously pursue a full and fair compensation settlement for every victim.

It is neither justice nor equality when a US company can evade accountability for the deaths of thousands of people in India.

Salil Shetty, ex-Secretary General, Amnesty International.

  • To keep coming back to the notion that you acquire a company where there is a bright line on the liability that was settled way beyond your time, and to hook you in to that event, it’s beyond belief that people are still trying that.’

Andrew Liveris, CEO of Dow Chemical, quoted by Bloomberg, March 1, 2012

  • “$500 is plenty good for an Indian”

Dow Public Affairs Specialist Kathy Hunt, 2002 re average compensation granted the Bhopal victims.

  • “Carbide Chairman Warren Anderson told the congressional panel [House Health & Environment Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman] yesterday that the company had no evidence whatsoever that sabotage was behind the Bhopal incident.”

March 27 1985, The Washington Post. Despite this statement, Union Carbide’s website continues to maintain the sabotage ‘theory’.

  • “The Indians are very technically capable, but for safety procedures, U.S. multinationals should insist on having American employees as well as local nationals.”

Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson, delicately attempting to shift the blame for the disaster without sounding too racist. Quoted in the December 24, 1984, issue of Time Magazine

  • “Safety is the responsibility of the people who operate our plants. You can’t be there day in and day out.”

Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson, quoted in the April 1, 1985 issue of Time Magazine and contradicting his own statement to TIME magazine (as above).

  • “It is outrageous that over twenty years have passed and that the CEOs of Union Carbide and its successor Dow Chemical still have yet to be brought to justice… In Bhopal, some of the world’s poorest people are being mistreated by one of the world’s richest corporations. As Union Carbide’s successor company, Dow Chemical is now responsible for the disaster.”

US Congressman Frank Pallone, of New Jersey, 2006

  • It was a crime that left so many people so many unanswered questions.”

Tracey Emin, quoted at the Art for Bhopal charity auction, October 11, 2011

  • “Union Carbide has a moral responsibility in this matter, and we are not ducking it.”

Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson, quoted in Time Magazine, December 24, 1984

  • “Look at us – even dogs and cats have a better life.”

Harbo Bai, a resident Bhopali still living in a slum next to Union Carbide’s plant. She lost a daughter to the gas and her husband is permanently disabled.

  • “Companies that don’t meet their responsibilities to all their constituencies will have a difficult time. Responsible customers won’t want to buy their products. Talented people won’t want to work for them. Enlightened communities won’t want them as neighbors, and wise investors won’t entrust them with their economic futures.”

William Stavropoulos, Chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical, quoted in The Business of Business Managing Corporate Social Responsibility: What Business Leaders are Saying and Doing 2002-2007

  • “My main recollection is that as an example of a holistic, environmentally sound, community focused and patient centred approach to health-care the clinic is way ahead of anything I have ever visited or worked in, anywhere in the world.”

Dr. John Hurst, Senior Lecturer/ Honorary Consultant, UCL Medical School/ Royal Free Hampstead Trust, describing the Sambhavna Trust Clinic, funded by The Bhopal Medical Appeal.

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The Bhopal Medical Appeal

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The Bhopal Medical Appeal (BMA) represents the Bhopal survivors and funds medical work in Bhopal. It arises from, and is part of, the survivors’ struggle. Its inspiration and ideals come from the survivors.

BMA makes regular grants to two organisations in Bhopal: one is the Chingari Trust Rehabilitation Centre; the other is the Sambhavna Trust which runs the Sambhavna Clinic.

In the Bhopal Medical Appeal we don’t ask you to help us help them. The Appeal, the Sambhavna Clinic and the Chingari Trust are shared efforts between those of us who are survivors, those of us who run the Clinics, and the Appeal, and those of us who support the effort with our money and by volunteering our skills or even just our enthusiasm.

This is our vision, that all of us are equal in an unbroken chain between supporters at one end and gas survivors at the other. Our sincere thanks go to those who have been part of it. The people in Bhopal have a lot to give back to the rest of us. Let’s carry on the good work we’ve begun together.

www.bhopal.org

The Bhopal Medical Appeal is a UK Registered Charity, No:1117526. We operate from a tiny office in Brighton and exist almost entirely on donations, and the other fundraising efforts of our supporters, along with gifts from carefully screened trusts and grant giving bodies.

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We believe Dow & DuPont must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.