June 11, 2010

I WONDER WHAT THE US ADMINISTRATION WOULD HAVE DONE, HAD A BHOPAL LIKE GAS TRAGEDY HAPPENED THERE...

I wonder what the US would have done, had a Bhopal like tragedy happened out there. If on account of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre– which unfortunately took 2995 innocent lives, including that of not-so-innocent 19 terrorists, and injured almost 6000 people– they demolished a complete nation in search of one individual, I wonder what would have they done if someone’s negligence had killed a staggering 22,000 innocent people, including children and women, and had caused permanent damages for another 120,000 people and affected some 5,50,000 people in some way or the other! If something like this would not have triggered a demolition drive, like they did in the former case, just on account of the merit of the crime (as World Trade Centre was an orchestrated crime and Bhopal tragedy was a criminal negligence), I am sure they would not have let any nation safeguard the perpetrator of the crime, like they have been doing with respect to Warren Anderson, the former CEO of Union Carbide India Limited, for so many years. In fact, no other nation would have left the US to be at peace, had something similar happened with them. But then the US cannot alone be blamed for such duality, as they can take such an audacious step only when the nation in question is India. It is outrageous that the Indian government allowed Anderson to flee, post the tragedy!

It was the intervening night of 2nd and 3rd of December of 1984, when a Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) and other toxic gases leaked from the Union Carbide India Limited factory located in Bhopal– turning a sleepy town into a morgue, almost overnight. The tragedy has been recorded as the worst industrial disaster in recorded history. It is just not that scores of people died on the spot, but the ones who survived succumbed to permanent fatal injuries, forever. Thousands became orphans and homeless and in a matter of hours an entire generation became the victim of someone’s blatant negligence. It was not that the effects of the lethal MIC were unknown to the perpetrators, nor was it that the union at the UCIL never notified the hazards of the leak much in advance, but nothing was done to mitigate the same. It has been a conspiracy wherein everyone, starting from the US Administration to the government of India to the local state government– has been hand in gloves with each other. Otherwise, how can one explain that immediately after the tragedy, the key culprit, Warren Anderson, was arrested and was immediately released within a matter of two days by the Madhya Pradesh police? How can one explain that he was conveniently declared a fugitive when he audaciously did not bother to revert to the CBI summons? How would one explain that even after he was declared an absconder by the court, the government still remained silent for almost ten long years! And finally, when the government woke up in 2003 to do a formality by sending an extradition order, the US government conveniently denied the request!

In fact, the ordeal of the bereaved never ended. It was so very unfortunate the way the Indian government bargained on behalf of the bereaved families, and how shamelessly it shortchanged them! After filing a claim of USD 3.3 billion in the US courts, the government finally settled for an out of court settlement of a measly USD 470 million. Though in the name of compensation some pittance has been given to the victims, but if reports are to be believed the government has not been able to disburse the entire compensation. In fact the delay in compensation created an entire ghost economy of racketeers who siphoned off the compensation in the name of ghost victims.

As if all this was not enough, to further dig the wounds of the victims of Bhopal, after 26 long years of deceit and agony, the court just delivered a mockery of justice by sentencing all seven accused, including Keshub Mahindra, the then Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL) chief, to a mere two years of imprisonment and a fine of measly Rs one lakh each. What more, the court has already granted a bail!

So while Anderson enjoys a comfortable life in the US, Keshub Mahindra and seven others are out on bail, and politics is as usual– the agony of Bhopal Gas tragedy victims continue. Going by the sequence of events, what looked like a tragedy then looks like a homicide now!!

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9 comments:

lipi mukherjee said...

This is going to be the second disaster for Bhopal that Indian government picked up such low price for deaths and victims, and truly said, this can happen only in India, but we are all responsible for it as they are our elected representative who forced such decision for their own welfare.I can imagine the level of depression Bhopal people will have to face after this judgement...very sad indeed.

biprojit said...

Dear sir,

Your article has truly raised the plight of the Indian masses, who have suffered a lot in context of the bhopal gas tragedy. But then, i must say, the Indian masses are destined to live a life full of tragedies and no justice at all. The bhopal gas tragedy, is not the only chapter that high-lights the useless judiciary system of India. Take into consideration the cases where almost everyday 100(s) of poor people sleeping on the footpath are crushed to death by the so called "amir-baap k bigre aulaad" and easily escape punishments. Recently, the massacre by Ajmal Amir Kasab, and the trial that followed, has showed us our image in the mirror. Had this happened in the US, till now they would have made pakistan vanish from the maps, but then again not to forget, we are the Indians. We belong to that nation, where people very easily adapt to calamities. Take for example the derailment of trains, they have been happening since long. But no measures to eliminate this calamity has yet been taken. As a result, every year, we lose thousands of our brothers and sisters, as we say in our pledge, they are, to this unwanted disaster. All the govt. and the authorities do is, hold each other responsible, or even better, the Maoist or some other group. There are infinite other examples too, but all we see as justice is a small compensation of thousands or lakhs, as if we are cattle on sale.

The masses should now realize that, merely cursing the govt. would do nothing useful, because our govt. will stay as a mute spectator to all these events because there is someone to pay them enough to contest the following election. It is our life, so let us not vanish without a fight and go into the dark.

Hope you agree my point.

Always wishing you a very good luck.

Regards
Biprojit

pulkit mishra said...

One thig is for sure. If terrorists attack us with nuclear weapons,this government is not going to retaliate.

Rajesh Kumar said...

Thanks for the nice article. You can quite right that if the Indian Government does not want the guilty be be punished why US even bother about it.

It is rightly said in one of the newspaper after the verdict that not only Bhopal but India is hit by another disaster after 26 years.

Subhash Mahajan said...

I am surprised AT YOUR SURPRISES Mr. Arindam - everyone did what was expected of them. That includes you as well as me. You will write your article - I will read your article.
AFTER THAT ----- THE life will move on. We have this transitory guilt which we want to transfer to someone else. We do unto others what we don't want to be done to us. Resourceful people should actually DO SOMETHING. Why don't you file a petition or something which could give justice.

vickiekurt said...

人有兩眼一舌,是為了觀察倍於說話的緣故。................................................................

putul said...

Mr. Arindam its sad to see that a mnagement guru like you is also blaming US govt. on this trajic event you wonder what US should have done i wonder what you and me have done we have done nothing had this happened in US I guess there govt. would have not sold out the lives of its citizens for a mere $550 per head
You are at a good position in society founder of a leading management school why didn't you went up to the court to seek justice or did something similar its a pitty how you have been using this topic just to get some hits on your blog as the oher media services have done..........

Mayank said...

Our country is one where post-calamity columns flood the newspapers, editorials overflowing with expert analysis of 'what a condemnable act it was' and likes, but rarely action seems to see the light of the day.Amidst the five year rotations of governments, which are completely apathetic towards occurrences claiming lives,the 'aam janta' takes all the brunt.After that there would be a second class of powerful people like the business class,bollywood actors etc, who are in better position to mobilise and if need be, pressurise the politicians to take concrete steps to bring home the justice.We do see such endeacours ther are 'tokenized' ones. More like 'I'm doing my bit' which has more of a symbolic importance than a real-time effect.
It is undeniable that every one should do their 'bit',but as the the movie 'Spiderman' says,'With great power comes great responsibility'.If the ones with power don't really wish to put their power to a better usage,it's amounts to making a fool of the people by demonstrating their 'bit'.we've run out of time for token gestures from the politicians,bureaucrats and the big shots. Its time for real action to be taken.As in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, India is playing a 'wet cat' to US.I don't believe India is in a that bad state that it cannot claim a justice for a 'massacre by negligence of an American'. US on the other hand, must be appreciated for its stand of defending its people under all the circumstances.Hope India wakes up to be brave enough to be its own saviour.

paul said...

We are still talking about punishing the guilty 26 years after the incident, why do we talk about extradition, when we let off the person when he was in custody. The Judge who let Anderson on bail, said something like this recently, if my driver crashes my car on somebody and the person gets killed, how can I be responsible for that’ . This is the reason he gave for Anderson’s bail. Now that, everything over, we let him off. Why do we talk about punishment now? What we need to be clear about is, it was an accident, that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t responsible, and it was the whole Union carbide team’s responsibility, for the safety and maintenance of such a plant which contained the deadly gas. We all are guilty including our government, for not having a strict law to deal which such cases, they should have been booked and punished some 26 or 25 years back. It is now a waste of time and energy talking about punishment now. The court has sentenced the other people except Anderson who are guilty for mere two years Jail. What our government failed to do 26 years ago, (other than letting Anderson off) was to get a suitable compensation from the company (which is not possible now, there has been so much of changes happened in the company’s board since then, now it is owned by Dow chemicals ltd ). A good Compensation for the victims would have at least helped improve the standard of living of those victims, the past cannot be changed. Instead of asking the U.S for extradition, which they are not going to agree easily ,even if they agree, if we bring back the old guilty Anderson here and punish him , nothing is going to change in the lives of those victims. Government should now, create a fund to raise a good compensation for the victims through various sources (even people will come forward to donate) and distribute the fund among the victims and the fund should be under the direct supervision of Prime minister to avoid corruption. Government should take steps to raise the standard of living of the victims instead of wasting time in meetings and diplomatic talks.

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