Skip to main content

Amnesty International asks chemical giant Dow to come clean on 1984 Bhopal gas catastrophe

By Our Representative
Amnesty International, one of world’s prestigious human rights organizations, has asked the Dow Chemical Company to “stop dodging its responsibility towards the survivors of the Bhopal disaster” and take full responsibility for “the catastrophic 1984 gas leak which left thousands dead and many more with chronic and debilitating illnesses”. In a statement issue from its London headquarters, Amnesty said, “The time has come for Dow to appear in an Indian court and account for the failure of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Union Carbide, to respond to the criminal charges against it.”
Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director for Global Issues, who signed the statement, said, “Refusing to comply with the summons would be to treat the Indian justice system with contempt, undermining Dow’s credibility as an investor in India.” For 13 years, US chemical giant Dow has denied that it has any responsibility towards the victims and survivors of Bhopal. In 2001, Dow acquired Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), the US-based multinational that was majority owner of the company that operated the plant at the time of the leak.
UCC has “ignored” orders to appear before the Indian courts to answer criminal charges concerning the disaster, he said, adding, The summons makes it clear that, as 100% owner, Dow has a responsibility to ensure UCC faces these charges. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the disaster. An estimated 22,000 people died following the leak and more than 570,000 were exposed to damaging levels of toxic gas.”
The statement said, “Many people in Bhopal still suffer from serious health problems. Pollution from the abandoned site has contaminated the local water supply and poses an ongoing threat to the health of surrounding communities.” The criminal summons were issued by the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhopal, is the third such summons to US-based Dow. The company has been called to appear on November 12, 2014, to explain why it has not produced its wholly-owned subsidiary UCC before the court.
Since it bought UCC in 2001, Dow has maintained that it is a separate company from UCC and has no responsibility for Bhopal. In a recent letter to Amnesty International, Dow stated that “any efforts to directly involve [Dow] in legal proceedings in India concerning the 1984 Bhopal tragedy are without merit”. Amnesty comments, “Dow’s position shows a complete disregard for the Indian criminal process and the rights to justice and remedy of the survivors of Bhopal.”
It further said, “Dow has tried to interfere with the judicial process in order to avoid being involved in court proceedings. In a 2005 communication, revealed following a Right to Information request in India, Dow lobbied the Indian government to ‘implement a consistent, government-wide position that does not promote continued GoI [government of India] litigation efforts against non-Indian companies over the Bhopal tragedy’.”
Meanwhile, Dow has been trying to invest in India. Its first effort was in 2008, when it entered into an agreement with the state-run caustic soda major Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd (GACL) to set up 100,000 tonnes per annum (TPA) at Dahej in Gujarat. The GACL snapped the deal in 2012 after it found that Dow was taking “so much time in implementing the project.” Dow was one of the important international participants in the Vibrant Gujarat summit of January 2009.

Comments

TRENDING

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Ironical? Hindutva is all 'fire and spite', as Muslim women become apostles of peace

By Sandeep Pandey*
On January 26, Republic Day, 2020, while protests simmered against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) throughout India, a dozen North American cities also witnessed historic protests. Indian Embassies have been witness to protests in the past. But this time it was different.

Union Budget: 24 crore people live in the dark, Sitharaman talks of prepaid smart meters

Counterview Desk
The Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), a Delhi-based advocacy group, commenting on the Union budget 2020-21, has has called it a case of missing wood for the trees, pointing out, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman "missed an opportunity to fix the economy, which is reeling under an unprecedented slowdown, with all indices pointing towards a recession."