Bhopali Kids Drive Home their Demands to PM

NEW DELHI, 5 May, 2008 — More than 40 Bhopali children– the Generation Next of Union Carbide’s victims, along with their parents addressed the media in front of the Prime Minister’s House. Braving the risks of gathering in a high-security zone, the children said that the Government must be ashamed to make Bhopal victims walk and wait just to get their basic rights to health, livelihood and clean environment. “We are of the same age as Dr. Singh’s grandchildren,” said 11-year old Yasmin Khan, one of the youngsters who completed the arduous 800km march to Delhi. “Would he let his grandchildren drink poisoned water, or see them sitting on the hot pavement for 40 days?” At least 70 Bhopal victims, including nearly 40 children, have been detained at the Chanakyapuri Police Station.

On 16 April, Yasmin wrote a letter to the PM with blood drawn from Bhopal victims, seeking an hour of his time. This letter was delivered to the Prime Minister along with hand-written notes from more than 500 children from across the country. It has been more than three months since the PM was first asked for an appointment, and told about the Bhopalis’ intent to undertake a padayatra to New Delhi. Since then, 2800 people from 18 countries have sent faxes to the Prime Minister’s office urging him to meet the Bhopalis’ demands. In a meeting with the Bhopalis on 29 April — more than a month ago — Principal Secretary in the PMO, Mr. T.K.A. Nair said he would help them meet the PM. So far, delegations of Bhopalis and their supporters have met various ministers and MPs, the bureaucrats in all relevant departments, and the Group of Ministers (GoM) on Bhopal. The GoM, headed by Arjun Singh, said it agreed with survivors’ demands for an empowered commission and legal action against Dow Chemical and Union Carbide.

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The Bhopal organizations are demanding an Empowered Commission on Bhopal to execute social, economic and medical rehabilitation, environmental clean-up and provision of clean drinking water. The groups have submitted a draft parliamentary bill for the Commission to the GoM and the PMO. According to the groups, the Commission should include representatives of survivors organizations and considering the adverse effect on the Generation Next of Bhopal victims, must function at least for 30 years.

In demanding justice, the Bhopal organizations are calling for government action to produce the authorized representative of Union Carbide as well as former Carbide Chairman, Warren Anderson who are charged with culpable homicide and other grave offences. They are demanding that the government must make Dow Chemical, 100% owner of Union Carbide, to clean up toxic contamination in and around the factory. Further, the organizations are calling for de-registration of Dursban and two other pesticides registered by payment of bribes, and revocation of the approval given to Reliance Industries to import Union Carbide’s confiscable Unipol PP technology.

For more information, contact:

Nityanand Jayaraman — 9717516003

Rachna Dhingra – 9717516005


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