Jun 13, 2010

Bhopal Tragedy: Urgent Need for a Political Cleanup

The Sunday Guardian (June 13, 2010), New Delhi, has published a Portrait of Shame. Since the newspaper is not still online it was difficult for me to cut and paste the pictures from web and paste it for you to see. It is not in that particular order, but here is the picture gallery.

While everyone is wanting Warren Anderson to be sent back to India, what is equally important is to take these powerful politicians and bureaucrats to task. The nation cannot let them get away so easily. At the same time, it is important to include (in this list) all those politicians who have been battling in the court for the multinational companies. 

There is an urgent need for a political cleanup. Unless we clear the known and exposed toxic elements from politics, no amount of clean up at Bhopal will ensure that such disasters do not happen in future. All political parties have to come clean on this. We as civil society should treat them as untouchables, vowing never to connect with them, a kind of a social boycott if nothing else works. 

Wake up India, you need to do more than just feel ashamed.    

ARJUN SINGH: Then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, who made the state aircraft available to warren Anderson so that he could escape from Bhopal, never to return. Carbide is believed to have funded his trust.
JUSTICE AHMADI: He reduced the charges from Section 304B of Indian Penal Code (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) to Section 304A of IPC (road accident caused by irrational driving) and was rewarded with chairmanship of Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust after retirement. 

P CHIDAMBARAM: during 2006-07, as Union Finance Minister, he advocated a notoriously better deal for Dow Chemical but could not push his wish through. He is back as head of the new GoM set up after the verdict

KAMAL NATH: During 2006-07, as Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath argued for soft terms to Dow in the hope of getting American investments into India. 

 MONTEK SINGH AHLUWALIA: During 2006-07, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, was more loyal to Dow than to Bhopal victims. As virtual spokesman of American corporate interests, he played a key in pushing for relief for Dow.

ABHISHEK SINGHVI: Congress spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member offerd handosmely remunerative legal advice to Dow Chemical and wrote, on Congress' letterhead, to the Prime Minister in 2007 that Dow should not be held liable for the gas tragedy.

M K RASGOTRA: Was Foreign Secretary when the tragedy occurred, and used his office to help Anderson escape. He held a half hour meeting with Carbide chief that fateful evening.
The three names in the original list which I have not been able to portray here are: Warren Anderson, Jairam Ramesh (for saying in 2009: "I held the toxic waste in my hand. I am still alive and not coughing. It's 25 years after the gas tragedy. Let's move ahead"), and also Ronen Sen, who in 2006-07 as Indian Ambassador to the US, made all the noises that Dow Chemical wanted to hear.

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