Home India News Police Arrest 52 Bhopal Children Outside Indian PM’s House

Police Arrest 52 Bhopal Children Outside Indian PM’s House

By Pervez Bari, TwoCircles.net,

Bhopal: Fiftytwo children of Bhopal survivors of world’s worst industrial disaster of December 1984 were arrested outside the Indian Prime Minister’s house in New Delhi by police when they were agitating for audience with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh for redressal to get their basic rights to health, livelihood and clean environment.

More than 40 Bhopal 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.

Fahim being taken in the police custody

An 11-year old Yasmin Khan of Bhopal, one of the youngsters who completed the arduous 800 km march to Delhi from Bhopal, reportedly said: “We are of the same age as Dr. Singh’s grandchildren. Would he let his grand-children drink poisoned water, or see them sitting on the hot pavement for 40 days?”

It may be pointed out here that the Bhopal victims of the catastrophe and their supporters after trekking 800 kms from Bhopal to Delhi are on “dharna” (sit-in) at Jantar Mantar square to seek Prime Minister’s intervention to get their long pending demands addressed.

On 16 April, Yasmin wrote a letter to the Prime Minister 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 Prime Minister was first asked for an appointment, and told about the Bhopalis’ intent to undertake a “padayatra” (foot-march) 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.

Children asking the PM

Meanwhile, in a meeting with the Bhopalis on 29 April Principal Secretary in the PMO, Mr. T.K.A. Nair reportedly said that he would help them meet the Prime Minister. 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.

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.

Contamination affected Nida of Bhopal waiting for an answer outside Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence in New Delhi

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 per cent 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 confessable Unipol PP technology. ([email protected])