Mock justice for Bhopal victims

The worst industrial disaster in the world took place in India, in 1984, when gas leaked out due to faulty safety equipment in a pesticide factory in Bhopal. As a consequence, about 25,000 people were killed and more than 5.5 lakh suffered various degrees of bodily injury..

On 7th June, 2010, eight senior officials of Union Carbide India, the pesticide factory in question, were convicted only of death due to criminal negligence. They were sentenced to two years imprisonment. They were bailed out for Rs. 25,000 immediately after the verdict. Agitated relatives and survivors of the victims demanded capital punishment for the accused and Warren Anderson, Chairman of Union Carbide (the parent company of Union carbide India) at that time.

The chief minister of Madhya Pradesh at the time of the accident and senior congress member Arjun Singh has finally let out that the main accused, Anderson, was allowed to flee the country at the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s behest. There’s more to this, as it is also being said that Rajiv Gandhi was under pressure from the U.S. government. The Principal Secretary to Rajiv Gandhi, P.C. Alexander, also casually mentioned that the decision to let Anderson escape was taken by Rajiv Gandhi. He said that other senior officials and party members were not allowed access to the personal meetings held between Rajiv Gandhi and Arjun Singh, who were constantly in touch with each other.

Now the point is, if the main accused was being helped in his escape by the prime minister of the country, no less, what justice can the victims expect? The survivors of the disaster and relatives of the victims obviously demand punishment for Anderson. It seems that he was aware that the security systems installed in the factory could lead to a leak. If this had been taken care of, maybe this incident would never have occurred.

89-year-old Warren Anderson lives in the United States. But he has been declared an absconder but no efforts are being made to bring him back to India. He definitely has got away from this case scot free as he was not not even subjected to a trial.

There was no word about him in the judgment delivered by Chief Judicial Magistrate Mohan P Tiwari 23 years after the trial commenced. How can anyone expect people to digest this? They are still suffering from the after-effects of the leak.

The word is that the judge who awarded the sentence, at that time, Mr. Ahmadi, was given 600 cr. to give the judgment according to the wishes of the payers. Now if that is happening, judges who are looked up to, who are expected to take care of the miseries of the common people, are accepting bribes then there is really nothing left to say about  the Indian judicial system.

Finally, all we can do is hope for an improvement in the overall situation in India, especially in the political sphere.

Shuchita Sharma