Bhopal: Several people marched to the defunct Union Carbide factory here on Saturday to mark the 38th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy that claimed thousands of lives. Demonstrators, mostly victims, marched holding placards with anti-US and anti-Dow Chemicals messages, seeking justice for survivors.
Toxic gas leaking from Union Carbide’s pesticide factory killed thousands in Bhopal on the chilly night of December 2-3, 1984. It is considered as one of the worst industrial disasters in the world.
The protesters took out a two-km march from Nadra bus stand to the Union Carbide factory, Shahid Noor, president of Bhopal Ki Awaaz, an organisation of children orphaned by the Bhopal gas tragedy, told PTI.
People burnt an effigy of Jim Fitterling, the chief executive officer of Dow Chemicals, which had taken over Union Carbide, he said.
Demanding proper treatment for people affected by the gas tragedy, Noor said the state government should provide the correct figure of the deceased to the Supreme Court, which was hearing a curative petition in connection with the tragedy.
“We want the accused to be punished. We also demand that the toxic waste lying in and around the closed factory seeping into underground water, be removed,” he said.
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogee Sangharsh Morcha also staged a protest at Lilly Talkie square and burnt effigies of Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals, the organisation’s president Balkrishna Namdeo told PTI.
”The victims of the tragedy are still writhing in pain after 38 years. We want the state and the central governments to give the right figures of the victims to the Supreme Court, which is hearing the curative petition,” he said.
The Bhopal Archdiocese organised a prayer service at Pastoral Centre, Arera Colony here for victims of the tragedy with a two-minute silence, followed by hymns and lighting of the candles. “We must put all our heads together to stop such a tragedy anywhere in the future,” Archbishop Sebastian Durairaj SVD said.
Father Maria Stephen, the PRO of the Bhopal diocese, asked people to become environmentally conscious, spread love, peace and prosperity.