Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Agent Provocateur: India's shame!

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    • The official death toll of what came to be known as ‘Bhopal Gas Disaster’ – how cleverly Union Carbide’s name was erased from the event! -- was “around 4,000”, which was a gross under-estimation; thousands more died over the next few days, taking the toll to at least 15,000 dead. Many more thousands were afflicted with blindness, respiratory problems and other illnesses. Unborn babies died in the wombs of their mothers; children were born with deformities; life became a living hell for many. (See the legacy of Union Carbide's crime.)

      Arjun Singh was Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh those days, heading a Congress Government. Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister, defending the butchery that had followed Mrs Indira Gandhi’s assassination and couldn’t care a toss about what turned out to be the world’s worst industrial disaster.

      Warren Anderson, chairman of the US-based Union Carbide Corporation, parent company of Union Carbide India Ltd, flew to see for himself the devastation wrought by the American multinational firm. Probably he wanted to verify whether media stories were true or exaggerated. He did not show either remorse or sorrow but was high on bluster.

      The police arrested Anderson; he was escorted to Union Carbide’s plush guest house where he relaxed while Arjun Singh arranged for his bail which was ‘granted’ within six hours. That evening a Government plane was placed at Anderson’s disposal: He flew out of Bhopal to Mumbai from where he boarded a flight to America. That was the last occasion he came anywhere near India.

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