Prime Minister had no time for Bhopal gas victims

By Pervez Bari,,

Bhopal: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a visit to Bhopal known for its gas tragedy, the world’s worst industrial catastrophe, gave a short shrift to disabled kids born to gas victims and looked other way when they wanted to invite his attention towards their unending woes.

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Today children disabled by Union Carbide’s & Dow Chemical’s poisons held a banner which stated, “Bhopal Survivors just need 15 minutes, Sir” and stood on the wayside from where the Prime Minister Modi’s cavalcade passed on way to the venue of the World Hindi Conference in the city. The children also held placards stating, “Poisoned by Union Carbide, abandoned by Indian Government” while standing in vain hope that the Prime Minister seeing their pitiable condition would stop and at least say a few soothing words to them to mitigate their sufferings.


Disabled kids born to Bhopal gas victims standing with banner to draw Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attention on his visit to Bhopal on September 10, 2015.

However, alas the Prime Minister motorcade did not stop but passed by on the airport road where disabled children, some sitting in wheel-chairs, stood still with banners and placards. There was none, not even the host Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, to whisper in the Prime Minister’s years the plight of Bhopal gas victims for more than three decades and counting.

It may be pointed out here that the five NGOs (Non-Government organisations), working for the welfare of the survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal had asked for a 15 minute meeting with the PM during his visit to the city to discuss the lingering issues of compensation, criminal justice and clean up. They had written to the Bhopal District Collector in this respect on to seek time.

Several scientific studies have shown the genetic impact of the disaster and the effect on the next generation neither the state nor the Central government has provided any medical care or rehabilitation. It was hoped that PM at the very least would find time to meet the disabled children who were holding banners and placards asking for 15 minutes of his time.

Ms Rashida Bee, president of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, two days back in a press conference had said: “From 1st August 2014 to 17th March 2015 we have sent six (6) petitions to the Prime Minister and have acknowledgements on two and response to none. We urged the PM to provide ex-gratia relief of Rs.100,000/- to all those gas victims who were only paid Rs.25,000/- as compensation. However, all that happened was our petition was redirected to the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers”.

Meanwhile, it may be recalled here that on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984 Union Carbide pesticide manufacturing factory had spewed poisonous Methyl Iso-cyanate gas whereby 3000 people had perished virtually instantly and over the years more than 25,000 have died as a direct result of the Bhopal gas leak and the sad saga is still continuing uninterruptedly. About half a million are suffering from the side effects of the poisonous gas and several thousand people have been maimed for life.

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