Skip to main content

US chemical giant DuPont, which merged with Dow, must take responsibility for Bhopal gas tragedy: Amnesty

Modi with Dow CEO
By Our Representative
The decision of Dow Chemicals, which took over $130 billion all-stock merger with US chemical giant DuPont last week, with the combined company to be named DowDuPont, has made top international NGO Amnesty to declare this doesn't absolve if of Bhopal gas tragedy in which 22,000 people died in 1984.
“DuPont must know that the unresolved human rights and liability issues around Bhopal, including the outstanding criminal charges against UCC, will not go away because of the merger. It must push its new partner to address its toxic legacy and assume responsibility for these issues that have plagued generations of victims and survivors”, it underlined.
The Amnesty statement came close on the heels of the release of a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi shaking hands with Dow CEO Andrew N Leveris. Amnesty said, the US chemical giant “must respond to court summons” and “stop dodging the Indian justice system and ignoring survivors who have suffered from the toxic fallout of the disaster three decades now”. 
The photograph, which is said to be of September 2015, it has been alleged, was "released" by the Prime Minister’s Office.
In a statement, Aruna Chandrasekhar, Business and Human Rights Officer at top international NGO, Amnesty International India, said, without naming Modi, “We hope that the Indian and US governments have done their part to ensure that Dow complies with an official Indian court order.”
Amnesty said.
In 2001, Dow acquired Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), the US-based multinational that was majority owner of the company that operated the Bhopal pesticide plant at the time of the leak. However, Dow has failed to respond to calls for justice and reparations from the victims and survivors of the disaster, while continuing to distance itself from the actions of UCC.
“UCC itself has repeatedly ignored orders to appear before Indian courts to answer criminal charges of culpable homicide. The charges remain outstanding in India to this day. The chief judicial magistrate’s court has declared UCC an absconder from justice”, Amnesty said.
“Calls for accountability and justice have haunted Dow since its acquisition of UCC in 2001. Dow, UCC and other companies are still facing a US$1.7 billion claim in relation to the disaster, and that’s just one claim by the Indian government based on a conservative estimate of injuries and deaths,” Amnesty said.
In November 2014, after a hunger strike by women protestors, India’s Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers promised to revise the numbers of deaths and injuries for which the government is seeking compensation in a US$1.7 billion dollar claim against Dow, UCC and others, to bring the figures in line with scientific data, medical research and hospital records.
“However, local activist groups argue that no such corrective actions have taken place yet. Meanwhile, pollution from the abandoned Bhopal factory site that has contaminated the local water supply is yet to be remediated and continues to put the health of surrounding communities at risk”, Amnesty said.
“Prime Minister Modi’s Clean India campaign must include a push towards accountability for Bhopal and a clean-up of the factory site. The government’s recent policy directives towards increasing penalties for environmental violations are noteworthy, but will hold no weight until there is justice on the ground for the people of Bhopal,” it demanded.
Meanwhile, well-known activist Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action said, the release of Modi’s picture with Dow CEO was t “unacceptable”, as it has been released just nine days after Bhopal’s CJM issuing notice against Dow. He regretted, Modi, instead of asking the CEO to appear for hearing, was “found dining with him.”
He added, "Tomorrow we will see whether CBI helplessly watches Dow Chemical ignore court's order a third time or whether it musters the courage to take effective legal action against the criminal corporation."

Comments

TRENDING

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Bullet train impact report Japan agency property: Govt of India tells Gujarat NGO

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has told Gujarat-based environmental organization, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) that the detailed report of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) representatives on their visit to Gujarat and Maharashtra assess the impact of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project on farmers is not its property, but that of JICA.

NHSRCL letter to PSS, signed by activists Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant and Swati Desai, comes following the latter’s request to it on June 10 for the report. PSS was one of the NGOs that represented JICA on the project, saying, if implemented, it would adversely impact farmers, even as pointing towards the fact that the project itself is unviable and Indian Railways needs to invest, instead, more on upgrading the present railway infrastructure.
Following the NHSRCL reply, PSS has shot a second letter to JICA, insisting that the latter should share a copy of the report, even as providing details of the …

Report on "torture" in Kashmir jails: 44% detainees stripped naked, 29% electrocuted

Counterview Desk
A recent report titled “Torture: Indian State’s Instrument of Control in Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir”, published by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), has claimed to build “on the body of human rights documentation on torture” in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) through an examination of 432 case studies. It seeks to focus on "the trends and patterns, targets, perpetrators, contexts and impact of torture" in the state.

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

Karma tribal festival an occasional to campaign for tribal rights: IPMSDL

By Our Representative
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), in a solidarity statement has suggested that the current Karam festival of Central India -- which seeks to promote sisterhood, friendship, cultural unity, and closer link to nature -- should be the occasion to campaign against alleged efforts to violently drive away forest dwelling communities from their forest homes.
"Millions are threatened to lose lands and livelihood under the implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006", the statement States, adding, "As corporate interests continues to enter tribal territories and extract profit from its natural resources, indigenous people are pushed to further marginalization and discrimination."
Asserting that indigenous movement in India "remains steadfast in keeping their culture, deeply linked to their lands alive by carrying out their heritage and struggles", IPMSDL, even as extending "…

Amidst Modi celebrations, thousands protest 'massive' submergence in Narmada Valley

By Our Representative
Thousands of women and men gathered on at the Shaheed Stambh in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, to raise their voice against what they called "the destruction of the Narmada Valley", protesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat BJP rulers for celebrating the Sardar Sarovar dam being filled up to the full reservoir level (FRL) on September 17, which also happens to be Modi's birthday.
Calling it a black day for the people of the Valley, whose villages and farms got submerged because of highest-ever water level having been achieved in the dam, the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), which organised the parallel rally across the border with Gujarat, regretted in a statement that Modi's celebration at the dam took place amidst " martyrdom of the Valley".
The demonstration in Badwani was preceded by a vehicles rally, which took rounds of the city streets. They were joined by people from several villages of Dhar district. They gather…

Narmada valley: SC notice to Gujarat, MP, M'rashtra on submergence sans rehabilitation

By Our Representative
Thr Supreme Court has issued notice to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments following a Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA)-backed petition seeking the explanation as to whether large areas of Narmada Valley have gone into submergence by filling up the Sardar Sarovar dam up to the full reservoir level (FRL) without rehabilitating the project affected families (PAFs).

Historic Chikhalda, temples, mosques submerged, activists 'rescue' Gandhi idol

By Medha Patkar
The first farmer of Asia was born in Chikhalda, if one is to believe archaeological researchers. A historic village, 50 percent of its population is of Hindus and 50 percent of Muslims, yet it has always remained peaceful. Chikhalda has struggled to save water, land and people along Narmada river.