Survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal ended their protest at Jantar Mantar last evening after assurance by the Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers of meeting their demands. Five women survivors and their supporter broke their water-less fast on the fourth day with sips of water offered by Joint Secretary AJV Prasad who came to the protest site.
Survivors at the protest site hugged the fasting women and each other, many among them weeping with joy. Sweets were distributed and music played at the protest site as the survivors packed their bags to return to Bhopal.
“On both our demands the Minister has agreed to the determination of compensation on the basis of data from medical research and hospital records instead of the faulty medical categorization that we were agitating against.” said Rashida Bee, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh.
Balkrishna Namdeo, Presdent of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha, said that the Minister has agreed that the Curative petition filed by the central government in the Supreme Court will be amended on the basis of figures of death and extent of injuries caused by the disaster from scientific research and hospital records. He said that the Minister has also assured that the government will seek urgent hearing of the amended Curative petition.
“We were protesting the denial of additional compensation of Rs. 1 lakh to 93 % of the survivors by categorizing their disaster related injuries as minor. And now the Minister has assured us that categorization will no longer be the basis for additional compensation. ” said Nawab Khan, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha.
“We see this as the first major official initiative to correct the historical wrongs in Bhopal. We thank the Minister for beginning the process of rectifying a 27 years old blunder that is at the root of denial of justice to Bhopal survivors.” said Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action.
Safreen Khan, founder of Children Against Dow Carbide thanked the environmental and health organizations and trade unions in the Delhi Solidarity Group for their support to the protest at Jantar Mantar.
Rashida Bi, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, 94256 88215
Nawab Khan, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, 9302792493
Balkrishna Namdeo, Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha, 9826345423
Satinath Sarangi, .Rachna Dhingra, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, 9826167369
Safreen Khan, Children Against Dow Carbide