The survivors are disappointed that the Curative Petition filed by the government, to be heard by the Supreme Court soon, downplays the number of deaths and injuries caused by the 1984 disaster, which is likely to result in denial of just compensation.
EARLIER today, the leaders of five organisations of the Union Carbide gas disaster survivors welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the long pending Curative Petition in the Bhopal disaster survivors’ compensation case. The leaders expressed their dismay over the denial of just compensation for the Bhopal survivors because of the government’s downplaying of deaths and the extent of injuries caused by the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC).
Rashida Bee, President of the BGPMSKS (Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh), said: “We too are petitioners along with the state and central government in this matter. We are asking for 646 billion rupees as additional compensation while the government is asking for 96 billion rupees. It is time the Bhopal survivors become active against this assault on their legal rights”, she noted.
Rachna Dhingra, of the Bhopal Group for Information & Act, stated that the government is presenting a far lower figure of the deaths than the actual and downplaying the extent of health injuries. They are claiming that 93% of those exposed suffered only temporary injuries, she said.
“Scientific reports and official records show that the correct death figure is 23 thousand and counting…the overwhelming majority have suffered permanent injuries as a result of exposure to methyl isocyanate gas”, Dhingra claimed.
Nawad Khan, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, stated that the ministers and officials of the state and central government have agreed, on at least four occasions, that figures of damage caused by the Bhopal disaster, as presented in the Curative Petition, were incorrect. They promised to take steps to correct them.
“The petition is to be heard soon and they are yet to make the corrections”, Khan said.
According to Balkrishna Namdeo, President of Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha, the state and central government would be deliberately misleading the Supreme Court, if they do not make the promised corrections in the Curative Petition before it is heard, making justice impossible.
Nousheen Khan, of Children Against Dow Carbide, has appealed to the next generation of survivors to assert their rights to adequate compensation for health damages caused to them due to the toxic exposure of their parents. He further noted that the Curative Petition of the state and the central government remain silent over several scientific publications having reported growth retardation, birth defects and immune disorders among children of gas-exposed parents. “Only collective action can break this silence”, he said.