//Delhi rights groups extend support to Carbide gas victims Bhopal-Delhi march

Delhi rights groups extend support to Carbide gas victims Bhopal-Delhi march

New Delhi: With human rights and environment groups in Delhi extending their support to 150 survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide chemical disaster, who have embarked on a 900 kilometre march on foot to New Delhi since yesterday, the fight for compensating the gas-affected families has gained momentum.

Demanding justice and respect for people poisoned by the Union Carbide Corporation, an multinational company of America, the march led by four Bhopal-based organisations also includes individuals affected by ground water contamination from Union Carbide’s abandoned factory in Bhopal.

“ It is shameful to see the Government of India facilitating the business of Union Carbide and Dow Chemical while the problems caused by the 1984 gas leak stands unattended. The Prime Minister should meet the survivors and ensure that every one of their demands is speedily met,” a press release of various Delhi-based rights and environment groups said.

It has been decided that worldwide, students and other supporters will demonstrate at Indian embassies and send letters to the Prime Minister in support of demands raised by Bhopal’s gas-affected families.

In Delhi, marches and vigils along with plays by student groups will be held to highlight the ignorance and failure of the Government to protect the protect the victims of the world’s worst industrial disaster.

A massive letter-writing campaign will also be launched asking to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to meet the survivors at the end of next month and accede to their demands.

“Bhopal is of relevance to all of us. More than anything else, Bhopal exposes that the government is there only to protect the rich. It can spend crores of rupees to build a shipping channel or a desalination plant, it is unable to find the resources to deliver water to 20,000 people in Bhopal who are compelled to drink water poisoned by Union Carbide’s toxic wastes,” said the Delhi groups in their press release.

Bhopal’s people’s main and most urgent demand of the six-point charter of demands is the supply of piped water form Kolar reservoir in the 16 communities, affected by toxic contamination of ground water.

The people set out on the march are expected to reach Delhi in the last week of March, when they would seek a meeting with the Prime Minister. If refuted, the marchers have threatened to go on fast unto death.

The four organisation: Bhopal gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karamchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Pursh Sangarsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information and Action and Bhopal ki Aawaaz will present their charter of demands to the Prime Minister.

These groups are demanding that the Government should set up a National Commission on Bhopal with participation of survivor organisations, to provide facilities for health care, economic rehabilitation, medical research and social support.

Other demands relate to the setting up of a special cell within the CBI to expedite prosecution of Union Carbide Corporation and its former chairman Warren Anderson, assessment and clean up of toxic wastes, and a ban on the Government’s purchase of Dow Chemical’s products, including the toxic pesticide Dursban.

The survivors are also demanding that December 3 be declared a National Day of Mourning for victims of industrial disasters and include the disaster in education curricula.

The routes for the “Delhi Padyatra” (or, march to Delhi) has been chalked out with a view to connect with other pollution-afflicted communities along the way.

Besides the marchers will organise poster exhibitions, film screenings and public meetings to make people aware of the need for justice in Bhopal for prevention of corporate crime everywhere.

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