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NGOs to burn US flag on 32nd anniv of Bhopal gas tragedy

Press Trust of India  |  Bhopal 

Five NGOs today threatened to burn the US flag along with the logos of two MNCs here on December 3 to protest against their "inhuman" approach towards those locals who they said are still suffering due to toxic waste on the premises of now-defunct Union Carbide Factory.

These NGOs, working for the survivors of the world's worst industrial disaster, claimed the US administration and the two companies are "inhuman" in their approach towards those people who are still suffering due to toxic waste of Union Carbide Factory.

"We are going to burn the US flag and logos of two US companies -- Dow Chemicals and DuPont," Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogee Sangharsh Morcha president Balkrishna Namdeo told reporters here.

"The defunct Union Carbide Factory's toxic waste is still killing and maiming people around its premises," he said.

Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh president Rashida Bi said a large number of people living in radius of five km of the abandoned factory were forced to drink poisonous and underground water and "are contracting deadly diseases due to the seepage of toxic waste dumped in the defunct unit's premises".

Union Carbide Factory, which used to manufacture pesticides, had dumped 11 lakh tonne of toxic waste underground on its premises during its 14-year operations, she claimed while talking to the reporters.

"Right now, 340 tonne of toxic waste of the factory is lying on the ground. The Dow Chemical Company that took over Union Carbide in 2001 is responsible for cleaning up the contamination of soil and ground water in more than 50 sq kms around the factory.

"(However) in the last two years, Dow Chemical has ignored four judicial notices asking its authorised representative to appear before the district court. And now it (Dow) is merging with another American multinational, DuPont, to further evade the civil, criminal and environmental liabilities of Bhopal," she alleged.

According to Namdeo, "The 'killer factory' was set up

and run in Bhopal with much help from the US government. And now the US government 'is sheltering' both Dow Chemical and (now defunct) Union Carbide by refusing to serve the Bhopal court's notices to Dow.

"This year, within one month, 127 thousand people wrote to the US President's office asking that the Department of Justice serve the notice on Dow Chemical, and all we got in response was an apology for deliberate inaction," he claimed.

He said this "indifference" of US has prompted them to decide to burn the flag of that country along with the logos of Dow Chemical and DuPont.

Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha's office-bearer Nawab Khan, Children Against Dow-Carbide leader Safreen Khan and Bhopal Group for Information and Action's Rachna Dingra also echoed similar concerns and ire.

Thousands of people had died and lakhs were maimed on the intervening night of December 2-3 in 1984 after toxic gas spewed from the Union Carbide Factory.

First Published: Wed, November 30 2016. 22:42 IST