Lokayat organizes Rally against outrageous Bhopal gas tragedy case judgement On Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Date: Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Time: 6.30 pm to 8 pm

Route: From Corporation Bus Stand via Shivaji Road to Tilak Putla, Mahatma Phule Mandai

Lokayat is organizing a rally against the outrageous judgement delivered in the Bhopal gas tragedy case on June 7, 2010, in which all the Indian officials have got away with mild sentences. The accused have got away so lightly, because of the “criminal negligence” by the government in prosecuting those responsible for the world’s worst industrial disaster. The Supreme Court in 1996, in a horrible judgement, diluted the charges against the Indian accused, effectively converting the Bhopal disaster to the equivalent of a traffic accident, and the CBI made no attempt to challenge this legally unsound judgement. It also made glaring omissions in presenting the evidence against the Indian accused. The worst part is, for the last 18 years, the CBI has made no attempt to bring the prime accused – Union Carbide USA and its former Chairman, Warren Anderson – to trial, they are supposed to be absconding. In fact, even after an order in 2005 by the CJM Court of Bhopal to Dow Chemical, which has taken over Union Carbide, to bring its subsidiary before the court, the CBI has for the last 4 years made no attempt to implement this order. In fact, documents available with us show that government officials at the highest level have assured Dow Chemical that they will try their best to absolve the company of all its liabilities arising out of the Bhopal gas tragedy.

All this indicates that the inept handling of the Bhopal case by the CBI is because of government pressure. In order to appease the giant multinationals of the United States and the US government – whose basic task is to protect the interests of its corporations – the government of India deliberately pressurized the CBI to “go slow” on the case. In fact, in their two decade long struggle for justice, the Bhopal gas tragedy survivors have not only had to fight Union Carbide and its successor company Dow, but also the government of India which has been more interested in currying favour with American corporations rather than protect the interests of its citizens.

The immense outrage among the people  caused by the patently unfair judgement and its scathing criticism in the press have put the government on the backfoot. The hurried steps taken by the government like setting up a group of Ministers to examine all aspects of the tragedy appear to be an attempt to cover up its complicity with Union Carbide and Dow Chemical. Considering the past record of the government on not just on the issue of Bhopal gas tragedy, but also on other issues of corporate crime, these  steps  appear only to be an eyewash, an attempt to buy time, till the uproar dies down.

We call upon the Prime Minister, as Minister in Charge of the CBI, to accept responsibility for the failure of the CBI in its role as the prosecuting agency. We demand  the creation of a Special Prosecution Cell for effective and timely action on extradition of foreign accused and prosecution of Dow Chemical.

Do join us for this important protest. I am attaching a pamphlet we are bringing out for this protest. This is the english draft, the pamphlet will be brought out in Marathi.

You may send in your comments as the draft is going for printing tomorrow morning.

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