Protest Outside Dow Offices in Mumbai

Bhopal gas disaster survivors protest Dow Mumbai

Satinath Sarangi protesting outside the offices of Dow Chemical, the owners of Union Carbide, in Mumbai, India. Photo: AFP/ Getty Images

Today in Mumbai more than 200 survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster occupied the offices of Dow Chemical Corporation in Vikhroli, Mumbai. Union Carbide has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical since 2001. The protestors were chanting “No Justice in Bhopal – No Business in India” and demanding that the company recognise the criminal, civilian and environmental liability of Union Carbide.

Security and police officers attempted to lock the gates as the survivors arrived but 150 survivors managed to enter the Dow premises. At first, the police told the protestors that there were no Dow Chemical offices in the area but the survivors persisted and found out there were at least two Dow offices close by. The demonstrators submitted a charter of demands to the representatives of Dow.

1984 Bhopal gas disaster

Lakhmi Bai came from Bhopal to demand Dow take responsibility for Bhopal. Photo by Kamayani Bali Mahabal.

Union Carbide were responsible for a lethal chemical leak at its plant in Bhopal in 1984 which has led to the deaths of over a hundred thousand people in the past 28 years. The factory lies abandoned and the site remains contaminated to this day. Dow Chemical denies any responsibility for the disaster and refuse to provide remediation to the site.

The survivors were protesting against Dow Chemical who continue to trade in dangerous chemicals while the legacy of Union Carbide continues in Bhopal.  “From the year 2000, we have been making it clear to Dow Chemicals that if they decide to buy Union Carbide, they will have to take all the liabilities too,” said Satinath Sarangi who led the demonstrations. “Cleaning toxic material is one of them and they are simply ignoring that.”

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We believe Dow 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.