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Issue #1565      19 September 2012

Bhopal survivor: It could happen again

Britain: A survivor of the world’s worst industrial disaster warned activists last week that “mini-Bhopals” could happen anywhere. Campaigner Balkrishna Namdev told an Edinburgh crowd that it had been 29 years since Dow subsidiary Union Carbide’s disaster wreaked havoc on his hometown.

The insecticide plant’s toxic gas leak killed an estimated 11,000 people, injuring more than half a million more.

Nearly three decades on, Dow has denied compensation or any responsibility for the disaster, despite a series of failed safety checks, while people living in slums near the factory’s ruins still suffer from illnesses linked to polluted soil and groundwater.

But Mr Namdev, 60, said he had been working with other sick and destitute survivors – many far older than himself – to seek justice ever since.

“The old people lead the struggle and show us the way.

“But everyone can participate in the fight for justice in Bhopal and stand up against any kind of injustice. It does not need to be for the gas victims alone.

“There are mini-Bhopals happening all over the world. Justice for Bhopal means a safer world for all,” he said.

Children Against Dow-Carbide founder Safreen Khan was born in Bhopal eight years after the leak but said she lived in the shadow of the disaster every day.

“So many children have been born disabled or damaged, with fingers missing or not able to walk, as a result of the gas tragedy.

“We felt it was important for children and young people to tell the story of what happened and is still happening in Bhopal,” she said.

Morning Star  

Next article – Colombian prisoners demand justice

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