New Delhi, June 20: The Bharatiya Janata Party once again demanded that the Congress apologise to the nation for its callousness towards victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy but welcomed the belated Planning Commission approval of a Rs. 982-crore relief package.
Party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday noted that after clarifications, interviews and statements from the former Foreign Affairs Secretary, M.K. Rasgotra, the former U.S. deputy head in the embassy, the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Arjun Singh, and others, it became clear that the Rajiv Gandhi government provided “safe passage” to the then Union Carbide CEO, Warren Anderson.
Mr. Singh had broken his silence to say he had “no locus standi” in the case of Mr. Anderson “safe” passage home to the United States. Why had the government been consistently and deliberately misleading the country, Mr. Prasad asked.
Referring to the approval of the package for victims by the Planning Commission, he noted that the Madhya Pradesh government had asked for this relief two years ago. He hoped that the Group of Ministers for the Bhopal case would now expeditiously disburse relief to the victims of the world's worst industrial disaster.
BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu demanded that the Union government file a curative petition seeking stringent punishment to the perpetrators of gas tragedy and adequate compensation to the thousands of victims.
The constitution of the GoM was an exercise in buying time, he told a press conference in Hyderabad.
The BJP leader said the Congress leadership sending Mr. Anderson safely out of the country after the disaster was tantamount to “treason.” He criticised the Congress leadership for its bid to pass the blame to the then Home Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao. “Can a Home Minister take a decision on such a sensitive issue without the Prime Minister's consent?”