On 25th Bhopal anniversary, victims left high and dry
Subodh Varma, 3/12/09
On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Disaster, the Madhya Pradesh high court at Jabalpur dealt another blow to the victims in their quest for justice. The victims of the world’s biggest ever industrial disaster have received only about one-fifth of the compensation promised to them under the 1989 agreementStung by the injustice of this paltry compensation, the victims had approached the apex court, which had approved the 1989 agreement. It was only in 2004 that the Supreme Court admitted a plea by gas victims seeking to reopen the compensation issue. Three years later, in 2007, the court rejected it, asking the victims to approach the state government. An application was then filed before welfare commissioner R S Garg who rejected it in January this year. The harried and desperate victims knocked on the doors of the MP high court to quash this order. But the HC turned it down on November 30. “It’s back to square one. We will go back to the Supreme Court again,” says N D Jayaprakash of the Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangharsh Sahyog Samiti, which is one of the victims’ organisations spearheading the struggle. The gas leak from Union Carbide’s pesticide plant in Bhopal in 1984 killed an estimated 20,000 people and left over 5.69 lakh people with a range of injuries and disabilities.