Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bhopal: The Auschwitz of India

Bhopal: The Auschwitz of India

"Methyl Isocyanate" is used as a pesticide.
First questions first -
why is a "cyanide" compound approved by the govt. as a "pesticide"?

From wikipedia -
"Methyl isocyanate (MIC) is extremely toxic. The threshold limit value set by the American Conference on Government Industrial Hygienist was 0.02 ppm. MIC can damage by inhalation, ingestion and contact in quantities as low as 0.4 ppm. Damage includes coughing, chest pain, dyspnea, asthma, irritation of the eyes, nose and throat as well as skin damage. Higher levels of exposure, over 21 ppm, can result in pulmonary or lung edema, emphysema and hemorrhages, bronchial pneumonia and death. Although the odor of methyl isocyanate cannot be detected at 5 ppm by most people, its potent lachrymal properties provide an excellent warning of its presence (at a concentration of 2–4 parts per million (ppm) subject's eyes are irritated, while at 21 ppm subjects could not tolerate the presence of methyl isocyanate in air)".

The toxic effect of the compound was apparent in the Bhopal disaster, when around 42,000 kilograms (93,000 lb) of methyl isocyanate and other gases were released from the underground reservoirs of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) factory, over a populated area on December 3, 1984, immediately killing thousands and leading to the deaths of tens of thousands in subsequent weeks and months."

why proper care was not taken to store the highly toxic methyl isocyanate?

was a proper investigation launched into the "cause" of the disaster?
Is the "cause" of the disaster known to the Indian govt.?
If yes, then why is the cause of the disaster not in the public domain?
If no, then it is a shame on India and Indians who do not have the proper controls, technology and will to know the cause. The Mangalore plan disaster where 200 died will be another feather in the cap for India.

why was the district collector of Bhopal transferred when he wanted the Union Carbide plant to be shifted out of the populated place before the disaster?
Who signed his transfer orders?
after the disaster why a massive clean up activity was not taken up urgently by the govt.?
why is the water polluted till today (2010)?
why proper compensation was not arranged by the govt. of Rajiv Gandhi at the Center and Arjun Singh at the state?
If the company was not liable then being the sole trustee of the Bhopal victims, the govt. becomes liable.

The govt. is elected and selected by the people. how can govt. declare "itself" to be the sole trustee of the people? A trust is established only if the "people" "select" the govt. to be its trustee. Such law if passed by parliament is null and void.
who were in the parliament who voted "yes" for this motion?

can a govt. who aided Warren Anderson to fly out of the country without even proper air tickets and also abetted in the storage of methly isocyanate without proper safeguards in a populated area be trusted to become a trustee of the victims?
Can such a govt. be allowed to "declare itself" as the sole trustee of the victims?
All and any such law is hence null and void. Which provides the foundation to reopen the Bhopal case, file RTI applications to find out who all in the govt. were behind the abetment of the crime both before and after the crime, and file criminal cases against those who are known to have abetted the crime and aided Warren Anderson to fly out.

20,000 dead is not a small crime and the govt. figure of 8000 dead is not acceptable.
if the leaders who support the present UPA do not withdraw support with immediate effect over the Bhopal crime, they also are to be counted in the line of abetters to the crime of Bhopal - the Auschwitz of India.

Not to dilute the case of the victims of Bhopal, I keep the question of the Nuclear Liability Bill out of scope of this writing.