Bhopal gas leak victims step up their campaign in Delhi for justice

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New Delhi, Apr 18 : Victims of the Bhopal gas leak case have stepped up their campaign for justice in New Delhi.

Seeking justice and rehabilitation, the survivors have been camping in the capital for the past few days.

They voiced their dissatisfaction over the promises made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"Earlier, the Prime Minister had accepted our demands, but none of our issues have been resolved. Our first demand is that a special commission should be formed to take care of our medical expenses and the treatment," said Hajri Bi, a protestor.

"Also there should be an investigation. Apart from this it should also provide financial assistance to old people, physically challenged and widows like pension. The area should be cleansed and clean water should be made available," he added.

They also demanded action against the companies like Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals that are responsible for the condition of the victims.

Over 3,500 people died in the days and weeks after toxic fumes spewed out of a pesticide plant in Bhopal on the night of December 2, 1984.

Officials say, nearly 15,000 people have died since then suffering from cancer and other diseases.

Activists claim that the death toll has reached to 33,000 and toxins from thousands of tonnes of chemicals lying in and around the site have seeped into the ground water.

In 1984, Union Carbide had accepted moral responsibility for the tragedy and established a 100 million dollar charitable trust fund to build a hospital for the victims. The company was later taken over by Dow Chemicals.

The company also paid 470 million dollars to the Indian Government in 1989 in a settlement reached after a protracted legal battle. The victims, on an average, received 25,000 rupees in case of illness and 100,000 rupees or so in case of a death in the family.

Michigan-based Dow Chemical says it is not responsible for the clean up as it never owned or operated the plant. The State government owns the abandoned plant.

ANI

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