Researchers vindicate gas victims stand on magnitude, long term effects of Bhopal disaster

Bhopal: Five organizations of the survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal have congratulated and thanked the five researchers who have vindicated the gas victims’ stand on the magnitude and long term consequences of the disaster against the deliberate downplaying of its impact by Union Carbide and the Indian government.

Addressing a Press conference here on the recently published scientific study on the health impact of the disaster on children who were in the wombs of their mothers when they inhaled the poisonous gas, the organizations said that the conclusion of the study was startling. The study found that people who were in their mother’s wombs during the Bhopal disaster were likely to have 8 times higher rates of cancer, higher rates of disability precluding employment, and lower levels of education. .

Describing the findings of the study that has been published in an international scientific journal earlier this month, Nousheen Khan of Children Against Dow Carbide, said: “the study has also reported that the effects of the disaster could be seen, through data published by the Government of India, in people living as far as 100 kms away from the factory at the time of the disaster.”

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Rashida Bee, president of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, demanded that the Union Carbide and Dow Chemical pay compensation for the health damage to the generation born to the survivors after the disaster.”

Emphasizing the role of the Indian government, Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information & Action said: “This scientific publication should be a wake-up call for the governments at the state and the centre. The findings of the research are all based on data published by government agencies. The government has taken away the Bhopal survivors’ rights to sue Union Carbide in exchange of promise to protect the interests of the victims of the corporation. If the governments do not take legal steps to make Union Carbide pay for damages to the next generation it will be a betrayal of that promise.”

According to Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogee Sangharsh Morcha the publication also calls for immediate review of the decisions to abandon all medical research on Union Carbide’s victims in Bhopal. The government is also duty-bound to make reparations for the economic and social damage caused to the progeny of the survivors for its failure to provide rehabilitation, as remarked in the study.

“We will continue to struggle for justice as we have done for the last nearly four decades. We will make sure that more people in Bhopal and outside get to know about the findings on the damage caused to the unborn and have our demands heard by concerned national and international agencies,” said Shahzadi Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha.

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