Justice for Bhopal victims 'delayed by politics'

Forget about legal battles, help those who are still suffering, says archbishop
Justice for Bhopal victims 'delayed by politics'

A poster used during a march of Bhopal Gas disaster victims commemorating the 30th anniversary of the disaster on Dec. 3, 2014. Survivors of the disaster are currently seeking an early hearing of a curative petition pending in India's Supreme Court. (Photo by AFP)

ucanews.com reporter, Bhopal
India
March 1, 2016
A Catholic archbishop has joined activists demanding the Indian government expedite the processing of a petition seeking additional compensation for victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

"Even after three decades the survivors of the gas tragedy are running from pillar to post for justice but to no avail on account of politicization of the entire issue," said Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal.

An estimated 5,300 people were eventually killed and more than 500,000 injured when some 40 tons of poisonous mythyl isocyanate leaked from the Union Carbide plant on the outskirts of Bhopal, the capital of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh on Dec. 2, 1984. According to activists about 25,000 more have died since then from exposure to the toxic gas and further environmental contamination.

"It is high time the government and all stakeholders came together to settle the issues in favor of the suffering people" rather than fighting legal battles, which "serve no good for the victims who continue to suffer and die each day," Archbishop Cornelio told ucanews.com, Feb. 26.

The archbishop's call came a day after the survivors of the disaster launched a campaign asking for an immediate hearing of a petition which is pending in the country's Supreme Court. It requests additional compensation for victims.

The petition for additional compensation has been pending in the Supreme Court for the past five years, said Rashida Bee, an activist working for the gas tragedy victims. "There hasn't been a single hearing yet," she said.

Activists like Bee, allege the federal and state governments have been deliberately delaying a hearing to avoid the issue of further compensation.

Union Carbide made an out-of-court settlement and paid the Indian government US$470 million as compensation to victims in 1989.

Sign up to receive UCAN Daily Full Bulletin
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
© Copyright 2018, UCANews.com All rights reserved
© Copyright 2018, Union of Catholic Asian News Limited. All rights reserved
Expect for any fair dealing permitted under the Hong Kong Copyright Ordinance.
No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without prior permission.