Around 22,000 dead. More than 1,20,000 injured. Rs 1 lakh for each body. Rs 25,000 for every poisoned lung and damaged heart and blinded eyes. 26 years of long wait. And just 2 years in jail for the men who committed the worst crime against the people of this country. And this mockery of justice after such a long wait. Twenty six years after 40 tonnes of lethal gas seeped into the lungs of Bhopal, families of some 17,000 men, women and children are still waiting for the so-called compensation. Thousands more are still waiting to be accepted as victims. People of Bhopal are still drinking toxic water poisoned by Union Carbide in December 1984. And the main culprit is living life kingsize in a mansion in New York.
No country sells its people so cheap.
No country sells its poor so cheap.
No country sells its dead so cheap.
Today – on the day of Bhopal disaster judgment -- if there is a failed state in the world, it’s India. It’s not Iraq. It’s not Somalia. It’s not Sudan. It’s India.
India – its government, judiciary and corporates – accepted the ridiculous amount of $450 million dollars for the people killed and maimed by methyl isocyanate leaked from the Union Carbide factory in the heart of Bhopal three decades ago. In all these years, the poor victims have done everything they could to get justice and compensation. They have cried and died on streets, sat hungry and faced police lathis on roads and filed court cases in the hope that one day they will get justice.
Today, they were denied justice. Today, they were told that they should be happy with the peanuts thrown at them by Union Carbide. Today, India proved once again that it doesn’t care for its poor. Today, it was proved all over again that those who do politics in the name of poor in this country, always rule for the rich.
What justification does CBI have for not being able to produce Warren Anderson in court. The chairman of UC at the time of the gas attack (it was not an accident, the gas leak was caused because of cost-cutting steps taken by him) on the people of Bhopal, Anderson was arrested and later released on bail. He ran off to US in 1986 and we have not been able to find him or ask the US to extradite Anderson to India. Why? The government says it doesn’t know where Anderson is. What a lie. What a shame.
Last year, on a balmy July day, a bunch of victims danced on the streets after hearing news that the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhopal had ordered the CBI to arrest Anderson and produce him before the court without delay. The court also asked the CBI to explain what steps it had taken since 2002 to enforce the warrant and extradition of Anderson, who was declared an absconder in 1992. Though the CBI and US government failed to track Anderson, supporters of Bhopal victims traced him to the elite New York neighbourhood of the Hamptons. In 2003, Greenpeace activists paid Anderson a visit at his home and handed him an arrest warrant.
Today’s ridiculous judgment in Bhopal didn’t say anything on Anderson as he is a “proclaimed offender”. This status suits him fine because he doesn’t have to bother about coming to India and answer some very crucial questions:
*Why did Union Carbide not apply the same safety standards at its plant in India as it operated at a sister plant in West Virginia, US?
*On the night of the disaster, why did the six safety measures designed to prevent a gas leak fail to function?
*Why was the safety siren, intended to alert the people living close to the factory, turned off?
The victims have always alleged that Bhopal happened because of negligence by the Union Carbide and that was caused by cost-cutting measures taken by Anderson. Is it because of this reason that Anderson has been 'hiding' in the US?
A criminal has a reason to hide, but what reason does our government have to let a mass murderer like Anderson go scot-free. Is it because he is an American? Can an American come to India kill people in this country and run away with no consequences? That seems to be the case. We are still struggling to get a chance to question David Headley Coleman, an American citizen responsible for the worst terror attack on an Indian city in 2008. Will we succeed in getting Headley extradited to India? No way. Never.
Today, India proved that it doesn’t really care for its people, particularly if they have been slaughtered by powerful people from the most powerful nation in the world. Instead of taking on America and fighting for justice for its poor, India is more than happy to sell its dead cheap.
Rs 1 lakh for every body. Rs 25,000 for every blinded eye. This is the cost of poor life in a failed state.
==>Courtesy : Shobhan Saxena (Times Of India)