Bhopal gas tragedy: 32 years later, victims yet to get justice

The 1984 gas leak from Union Carbide’s Bhopal plant is one of the world’s worst industrial disasters that left thousands dead

GN Bureau | December 2, 2016


#Bhopal   #Union Carbide   #Bhopal Gas Tragedy   #Warren Anderson   #Union Carbide India Limited   #UCIL  

Photo Courtesy: Rajeev Smriti Gas Pidit Punarwas Kendra

Thirty two-years back on this day, when Bhopal slept, a poisonous gas leaked from the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) factory which was built in 1969 to produce a pesticide called Sevin. This gas was deadly methyl isocyanate which affected more than 5 lakh people.

READ: Here is a list of people who played key role in the denial of justice to the victims

 Though the estimates on the death toll vary, the Madhya Pradesh government confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths, 558,125 injuries, including 38,478 partial injuries and approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries.

READ: Bhopal: Lessons of the past, for future

The reason of this horrific accident has not been established.

Here’s a chronology of events:

December 2-3, 1984: The gas releases from Union Carbide India Ltd's (UCIL) pesticide plant. Thousands were killed and millions were affected.

December 4, 1984: Warren Anderson, the chairman of Union Carbide, was arrested along with nine others. He was out on bail of $2,000, upon a promise to return. Union Carbide is named as the 10th accused in a criminal case charged with culpable homicide.

1985: Government files claim for $3.3 billion from Union Carbide in a US court.

1986:
US district court judge transfers all Bhopal litigation to India.

1987: CBI files chargesheet against Warren Anderson and other accused.

February 1989: Non-bailable warrant of arrest against Warren Anderson for repeatedly ignoring summons. Government and union carbide fix an out-of-court deal and the company provided a compensation of $470 million.

February - March 1989: People start protesting the unjust settlement followed by filing of a number of review and writ petitions against.

1992: Part of $470 million is disbursed by the government among Bhopal gas victims.

February 1992: Anderson was declared fugitive by law for ignoring court summons.

November 1994: Despite numerous petitions by survivors' groups, the Supreme Court allows Union Carbide to sell stake in UCIL to McLeod Russell (India) Ltd of Calcutta.

June 2010: Seven former employees of UCIL, (all Indians) were convicted of causing death by negligence. They were each sentenced to two years imprisonment and fined Rs one lakh each. However, all were released on bail shortly after the verdict.

September 2014: Anderson died at the age of 92 at a nursing home in the US.
 

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