[mgj-announce] URGENT: Bhopal vigil in DC on Wednesday!
ntangri at essential.org
Tue Jul 9 12:28:58 EDT 2002
***please distribute widely***
URGENT: Protest the Deadliest Corporate Crime in History!
WHO: all are invited to join. This vigil is being called by the DC South
Asian Collective and Greenpeace, members of the international coalition
Action Against Corporate Crime and Toxic Terror: Bhopal.
WHEN: 6:00 pm, Wednesday, July 10th.
WHERE: Indian Embassy, 2107 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington DC, by the
Dupont Circle Metro.
WHAT: A brief vigil in support of the Bhopal gas disaster survivors. If you
can fast on Wednesday in solidarity with the hunger strikers, please do so.
IF YOU PLAN TO FAST, please email <ntangri at essential.org> so that we can
keep track. Also, be sure to drink plenty of liquids. Do not fast if it
would endanger your health.
If you are not in the D.C. area but plan to fast in solidarity, please let
us know by emailing <ntangri at essential.org>.
Survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster are in the 12th day of indefinite
hunger strike in 100-degree weather. Come to the Indian Embassy at 6:00pm
on Wednesday, July 10th to show your support. If you can, please fast all
day Wednesday (but drink plenty of water). We will break our fast together
at the embassy.
In 1984, an American-owned pesticide plant in Bhopal, India exploded,
killing 8,000 people almost immediately and injuring thousands. To date,
20,000 people have died and an average of 10 more continue to die each
month from long-term effects of the gas. The Indian government has colluded
with US companies to protect them from criminal and civil liability. Now,
at a time when President Bush is talking about jail time for CEOs who
defraud investors, the Indian government wants to absolve Union Carbide and
Dow corporation of their responsibility for the disaster. The government
has proposed downgrading charges against Union Carbide's former CEO, who is
on the lam from charges of culpable homicide. It also wants to distribute
the victims' compensation fund to political cronies not affected by the
The Bhopalis hunger striking in Delhi are demanding justice for the Bhopal
survivors. Show your support on Wednesday, July 10th.
See also yesterday's Washington Post story:
In May 2002, the Central Bureau of Intelligence, India requested that
charges against Warren Anderson, a man liable for the death of 20,000
people, be reduced from culpable homicide to "negligence". The reduced
charge means that Anderson will face a maximum prison sentence of 2 years.
Most likely he will get off with a negligible fine and will never have to
face the people who remain in ill and live in life threatening conditions
as a result of an industrial disaster that for which he was responsible, in
In 1984, policies instituted by Union Carbide, of which Anderson was CEO,
led to a toxic leak in the Indian city of Bhopal, which has killed
approximately 20,000 people (to date), left 120,000 people ill and in need
of medical care, and has rendered the area surrounding the now deserted
plant a global toxic hotspot, according to recent studies by Greenpeace.
The reason why Warren Anderson is deemed responsible is because, he was
responsible for instituting the cutbacks in safety measures that led to
this disaster, and was made aware of the danger in which he was placing
people. By ignoring studies, and exposing people to deadly chemicals,
Warren Anderson became culpable of homicide.
Though the Indian Government initially sued Union Carbide for US $3 billion
in damages, in 1989 it settled for US$ 470 million, meaning the survivors
of the Bhopal disaster would have received on average US$340 per person for
pain, suffering, lives and livelihoods lost. Of the $470 million paid by
Union Carbide to the government to date, about $272 million remains unspent.
Survivors groups say that after an elaborate claim assessment and
disbursement process that took more than a decade, most people remain
uncompensated and the government officials are now planning on spending the
funds on activities not related to compensating, or providing services for
the remaining survivors.
In response to the Central Bureau of Investigation's request, 100 people
went to Delhi to protest the Government decision and demand the meager
compensation the Government promised and justice. Three people are on an
indefinite hunger strike. They are asking the government to:
Reverse the action taken in May by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
In addition, the money allocated to the survivors must be used for the
survivors, to meet their needs. People affected by these disasters are
living in areas that by all accounts are deadly.
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