5,239 or 23K-plus? Survivors press govt to cite correct death figure in SC

Scores of survivors and kin of the Bhopal gas tragedy victims will stage a peaceful protest at Jantar Mantar on the 38th anniversary of the worlds biggest chemical industrial disaster that occurred on the intervening night of December 2 and 3, 1984.

Through the protest they would draw the attention of the government, Supreme Court and people of the country, that the survivors continue the fight to receive adequate medical attention and compensation.

Usually, they protest every year during this time in Bhopal, this year they have decided to stage a protest in New Delhi to raise their voice for seeking adequate compensation, rehabilitation and proper medical treatment.

Last time, they had protested in New Delhi in 2014. Through their peaceful protest, they will seek the attention of the government and people from across the country.

The purpose of the protest this time in New Delhi is to convince the Centre to revise the figures of death and injuries caused due to exposure in the curative petition to be heard before the Supreme Court on January 10.

The survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster claimed that in its curative petition for seeking additional compensation from US-based Union Carbide Corporation, the Centre has mentioned a total number of 5,295 deaths, whereas the ICMR’s reports suggested that the number of deaths was over 23,000.

“The Central government is seeking additional compensation only for 5,295 deaths whereas official records and scientific records clearly show that more than 23,000 have died as a result of exposure. The Madhya Pradesh government had itself in 2010 mentioned the death figure of 10,047,” Raeesa Bi (64), a survivor who lost three members of her family, including her husband and a daughter, told IANS.

A group of activists, who have been leading the fight of the Bhopal gas tragedy survivors, claimed that though the Centre has decided to seek compensation, it has presented a far lower figure of deaths in its curative petition.

“The government is presenting a far lower figure of deaths than actual and downplaying the extent of health injuries by claiming that 93 per cent of those exposed were only temporarily injured. Secondly, the Centre and the MP government are claiming in the curative petition that 5,21,332 victims have only suffered from minor injuries and have received Rs 25,000 as compensation.

“Whereas the hospital records of the MP government and Union Govt, Union Carbide’s own documents and ICMR findings clearly show that there can be no minor injury due to MIC exposure,” said Rachna Dhingra, an activist, who along with other activists will be leading the protest in Delhi.

She said that at least on four occasions in the last few years ministers and officials of the state and central governments have agreed that the figures of damage caused by the Bhopal disaster as presented in the curative petition were incorrect and promised to take steps to correct them.

Meanwhile, the Bhopal gas tragedy survivors will also try to meet Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya in Delhi. Their demand is that a compensation of Rs 6 lakh should be given to every gas victim’s kin. It is alleged that 5,21,000 survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy did not get proper compensation.

20221202-110407

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