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Bhopal gas tragedy: Plea urges US govt to make Dow appear

Press Trust of India  |  Bhopal 

Five NGOs working for survivors of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy today said they have emailed a petition with over 1 lakh signatories to the US White House to mount pressure on Dow Chemical-US, owner of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) to appear before a local court next month.

"We have collected 1.18 lakh signatures to the petition in a just short duration from May 14 to June 14," Satinath Sarangi, head of Bhopal Group for Information and Action told reporters here.

Toxic gas leaked from the UCC's pesticide factory (now defunct) here on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984, killing thousands of people and maiming lakhs - termed as Bhopal Gas Tragedy - the world's worst industrial disaster.

"As per the terms of the White House website, which has been petitioned, the US government is obliged to respond to our petition with 30 days," he added.

"It is mandatory for White House to act after receiving a plea with a threshold of 1 lakh signatories on a particular issue," he added.

In the past, the Bhopal district court had sent three notices to Dow Chemicals, US, to appear before it. Following which, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sent the notices to US Department of Justice for its execution under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) of 1991, Sarangi said.

But unfortunately, the US Department of Justice didn't act, he claimed.

Recently, the district court for the fourth time has issued notice to Dow Chemical to appear before it on July 13, Sarangi said.

He said UCC, US, is an absconder as it skipped the trial of Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

Dow Chemicals, US, had bought UCC on February 6, 2001,

and thus it is binding on it to clear the liability of the UCC to appear in the criminal case and provide succour and more compensation to the people affected by Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

Rashida Bee, president of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karmchari Sangh, Balkrishna Namdeo, president of Bhopal Gas Peedit Narashrit Pension Bhogee Sangharsh Morcha, Safreen Khan of Children Against Dow Carbide, Nawab Khan of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha also demanded that the US administration should act to bring Dow to justice.

The five NGOs thanked Hollywood actor Martin Sheen, MIT professor Noam Chomsky, Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, Association for India's Development, USA, Chennai rapper Sofie Ashraf, US trade Union AFL-CIO, Greenpeace-USA, Story of Stuff network and students of various US universities for their contributions toward making the petition to White House a success.

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First Published: Tue, June 14 2016. 17:48 IST
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