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Bhopal gas tragedy: Survivors on padayatra

Written by: Staff
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Chennai, Mar 16: Human rights, environmental and youth groups from Tamil Nadu today took out a rally in support of the survivors of the December 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, who had embarked on a 800 km long padayatra to Delhi demanding justice and a life of dignity.

Representatives from pollution-impacted communities in Mettur, Cuddalore and Gummidipoondi also participated and a delegation of supporters from Tamil Nadu were expected to join them on the last stretch of the march.

On March ten, members of the Chennai-based 'We feel responsible,' met the Tamil Nadu Governor to hand over a petition addressed to the Prime Minister with signatures collected in support of the demands of the victims.

The most urgent demand of the six-point charter was the supply of piped water from Kolar Reservoir to the 16 communities affected by toxic contamination of ground water.

Despite a May 2004 Supreme Court order, the Madhya Pradesh Government failed to provide water and nearly 20,000 people continued to drink water containing carcinogenic chemicals, a release here said.

''Bhopal is of relevance to all of us. More than anything else, it exposes the fact the government does not protect the poor. If the victims of the world's worst industrial disaster have to walk 800 km to Delhi 22 years after the disaster to get their most basic demands met, what chance do we have to see our demands for clean water, clean environment, medical assistance and compensation fulfilled?'' it asked.

The Tamil Nadu supporters of the Bhopal padayatra, including Human Rights - Tamil Nadu and International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal have echoed the survivors' demand for setting up a National Commission on Bhopal.

The survivors also demanded that December three be declared as a National Day of Mourning for victims of industrial disasters and for inclusion of the disaster in educational curricula.

UNI

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