Rallies, meets to mark 25 years of Bhopal gas leak
Story Dated: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 12:7 hrs IST
Bhopal, Dec 1: Meetings, rallies, demonstrations and conferences will mark the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster which killed over 3,500 people instantly and maimed several thousands for life on the night of Dec 2-3, 1984.
A torch rally will be taken out to the Union Carbide factory on Wednesday by the Bhopal Group of Information and Action (BGIA) and several organisations affiliated to it.
It was from this pesticide factory of American multinational Union Carbide that lethal methyl isocyanate gas leaked out, making for one of the world's worst industrial disasters.
"The survivors of the tragedy, through protests, intend to vent their ire against the state government for its inaction in clearing the toxic waste from the vicinity of the Union Carbide plant," said Satinath Sarangi of BGIA.
The BGIA includes the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karmchari Sangh and Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangarsh Morcha. This would be followed by a commemoration ceremony and movie screening.
While officials say 15,000 people have died from cancer and other gas related ailments so far, activists working among the victims put the toll at 33,000 and claim that toxins from thousands of tonnes of chemicals lying in and around the site have seeped into the ground and contaminated the water sources.
Till date, the victims continue to fight for livelihoods, proper compensation, rehabilitation, decontamination of soil and water and criminal action against those responsible for the 'massacre'.
A national meet, slated to be held Wednesday-Thursday would discuss issues, including "Examining the factors that make such a massacre possible" and "What lessons have been learnt (or not learnt) from the tragedy".
Besides, discussions on "How do we stop more 'Bhopals'," What is the nature of industrialisation and development paradigm that make such violence possible" and "Are our governments not pushing us down a path that lead to many, many more Bhopals" will also be held.
The programme has been organised jointly by various NGOs, including Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan and Shramik Adivasi Sangathan.
The National Meet on the topic "Destructive Industrialisation and Distorted Development" will be organised on Dec 2 while on Dec 3 a rally and a public meeting will conclude the event.
The other programmes organised to mark the occasion include honouring of female activists fighting against corporate crimes, organised by Chingari Trust. The trust will present awards to women across India who have taken a lead role in fighting corporations involved in criminal behaviour.
On Thursday, these organisations would take out a rally from Bharat Talkies to the Union Carbide factory which would be followed by a presentation of awards to national and international supporters.