Bhopal Gas tragedy: Victims oppose Government stand

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New Delhi, Oct 29 (ANI): Bhopal gas tragedy victims have slammed the Centre's decision of non-intervention in the ongoing case for the clean-up of the contaminated site against the former Union Carbide company in a New York court.

Following an opinion by the attorney general G.E. Vahanvati, Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily had said that the government had decided against pursuing the case in the US, "since it was not in the interests of victims and the country".

Calling it a move to 'brush matters under the carpet,' several activists said it was pertinent that U.S. industries operating in the nation followed Indian laws.

"US President Barack Obama wants to promote U.S. business by U.S. corporations in this country and yet looks away when it comes to U.S. corporations abiding by the Indian courts or Indian laws. We think that Obama has to ensure that American corporations doing business in this country subject themselves to the Indian courts jurisdiction and obey Indian laws," said Satinath Pandagi, an activist.

Meanwhile, the state Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Minister, Babulal Gaur, played down the matter, saying the advice given by Vahanvati was a legal argument.

"Every court case has a three year limitation. It has been 26 years since the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The attorney general has given a legal argument, not a political one. And I personally believe in legal advice," said Gaur.

In the early hours of December 3, 1984, around 40 metric tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked from the Union Carbide Plant in Bhopal into the atmosphere and was carried by wind to surrounding slums.

The Government says around 3,500 died in one of India's most horrific of industrial disasters. Rights activists, however, claim that 25,000 people have died so far. (ANI)

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