Bhopal gas tragedy survivors observe national solidarity day

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New Delhi, June 18 : Survivors of victims of Bhopal gas tragedy observed National Day of Action and Solidarity here last evening.

Along with members of the Delhi solidarity group for Bhopal, the survivors took out a candlelight vigil demanding justice for the survivors.

Activists called upon Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to meet the demands of the sufferers.

"We are demanding from the Prime Minister that he has to listen to the Bhopalis who have been struggling from last 24 years. The two demands - one setting up of the commission and the second to bring Dow Chemicals to the courts in India and prosecute them, that has to be met," said Madhuresh, a protester.

More than 3,500 people died following leakage of toxic fumes at a pesticide plan in Bhopal on the night of December 2, 1984.

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

In 1984, Union Carbide accepted moral responsibility for the tragedy and established a 100 million dollars charitable trust fund to build a hospital for victims. Later Union Carbide was 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 clearing up as it never owned or operated the plant. The Madhya Pradesh government now owns the abandoned plant.

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