Bhopal gas victims hold candle light vigil on 25th anniversary of holocaust

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Bhopal, Dec.3 (ANI): Kin of the victims and survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy staged a candlelight vigil here on Wednesday to mark the 25th anniversary of the world's worst industrial disaster.

On December 2, 1984, Bhopal woke up to the most horrifying industrial disaster. Thousands of men, women and children died because of the deadly gases, mostly the highly toxic methyl isocyanate that escaped from plant of Union Carbide India Limited located in the city.

On Wednesday, people from all walks of life rallied to pray for the victims and sufferers in the aftermath.

"We all, including the women of the families of the gas victims, are here to pay our tributes to the gas victims and at the same time pray that such tragedy never ever revisits," said Poonam Rajput, a kin of a gas victim.

Officials have confirmed that consequently at least 15,000 people have died from cancer and other ailments related to the toxic gas leak.

Activists have put the toll at 33,000 and claimed that toxins from thousands of tonnes of chemicals lying in and around the site have seeped into the ground and contaminated the water sources.

Union Carbide in 1984 accepted moral responsibility for the tragedy and established a 100 million dollar charitable trust fund to build a hospital for the victims. Later Union Carbide was taken over by Dow Chemicals.

Prior to the take-over, Union Carbide had paid 470 million dollars to the Indian government in 1989 in a settlement reached after a protracted legal battle.

The victims were paid 25,000 rupees in case of illness and 100,000 rupees or so to the next of kin of those killed.

On its part, the Michigan-based Dow Chemical says it is not responsible for the clean up as it never owned or operated the plant at the time of the tragedy.

Presently, the Madhya Pradesh Government is in possession of the land and the abandoned plant of the Union Carbide. (ANI)

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