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Bhopal gas tragedy victims demand assessment of toxicity

ANI  |  Bhopal 

Bhopal gas leak victims, demanded immediate scientific assessment of environmental pollution caused by the tragedy three decades back on Sunday.

Social activist Satinath Sarangi, who has been working for the victims, says that a scientific assessment of air, water and ground quality should be done to address the situation.

"What we are asking the government of India, and we have sought help of the United Nations Environment Programme in this as well, is for a comprehensive scientific assessment so that there can be a strategy for clean up and an assessment of the amount of damage for which Dow Chemical should be liable," said Sarangi.

Activists want this waste removed and disposed of away from the area, and feel Indian authorities, who now own the site, have fumbled on taking action - either by clearing up the waste itself or in pursuing Union Carbide to take responsibility.

Now, as US President Barak Obama will visit India for Republic Day celebrations in January, activists say the American government should apologise and demand extradition of John Macdonald, secretary of Union Carbide.

"We demand the American government that they should apologise for victims of Bhopal who did not get justice since past three decades and for the murderer in the case who escaped without any punishment. We demand from the Indian government that after the death of Anderson, the additional incharge of Union Carbide, John Macdonald should start for his extradition without delay and Keshav Mahindra and other Indian accused against whom case going on, special arrangement should be hasten up," he added.

Built in 1969, the Union Carbide plant in Madhya Pradesh was seen as a symbol of a new industrialised India, generating thousands of jobs for the poor and, at the same time, manufacturing cheap pesticides for millions of farmers.

Fifteen years later, 40 tonnes of Methyl Isocyanate gas was released and carried by the wind killed thousands in Bhopal.

The government recorded 5,295 deaths, but activists claim 25,000 people died in the aftermath and following years.

Union Carbide's CEO Warren Anderson, who left the country soon after the disaster, was sought by the government here which had called for his extradition from the United States. Anderson died in September, aged 92.

First Published: Mon, December 01 2014. 11:08 IST