• Saturday, February 24, 2024


Labour MP hosts event to recall India’s Bhopal gas disaster; seeks justice for victims

The event, organised by Mishra in partnership with Action for Bhopal, invited parliamentarians to commemorate victims and call for Dow Chemical Company to clean up the site and properly compensate all those affected.

Labour MP Navendu Mishra (R) holds a poster about the 1984 Bhopal gas-leak disaster in India at an event organised in House of Commons to commemorate the incident’s 39th anniversary. He sought justice for the victims of the disaster at the event. (Picture: Navendu Mishra)

By: Shubham Ghosh

LABOUR MP Navendu Mishra last month hosted an event in Portcullis House in the House of Commons to commemorate the 39th anniversary of the gas-leak disaster in the Indian city of Bhopal in which more than 3,700 people died and over 550,000 were injured. Other sources say 25,000 people died while 120,000 continue to suffer from serious physical ailments even after so many years.

The incident happened on the intervening night of December 2 and 3, 1984, at the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) pesticide plant in the central Indian city when millions were exposed to hazardous methyl isocyanate gas.

The event, organised on November 28 by Mishra in partnership with Action for Bhopal, which raises awareness about the environmental catastrophe and campaigns for compensating the victims, invited parliamentarians to commemorate victims of the tragedy and call for Dow Chemical Company, which later took over UCC in 2001, to clean up the site and properly compensate all those affected.

Dow Chemical Company refused to address local pollution or fairly compensate victims and the site continues to pose threats to residents, and toxins still pollute local sources of water.

Mishra, who represents Stockport, actively supports the campaign, which also has found backing from trade union bodies such as Trades Union Congress and UNISON.

The November event followed Mishra’s drafting of two Early Day Motions (EDM) addressing the subject in 2020 and 2022 and orchestrating a Westminster Hall debate in the House of Commons last year. His Labour colleague Virendra Sharma also  introduced a new EDM on the matter on the day of the event.

“In Bhopal for nearly four decades, some of the world’s poorest people have been fighting one of the world’s richest corporations for justice. This catastrophe has damaged the environment of the region and the livelihoods of so many people.
Today, that fight is as urgent as ever, and we must support them in their campaign,” Mishra said.

In a statement, Action for Bhopal said, “Had Bhopal happened in the Global North Dow Chemical would no longer exist. After its Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – which killed 14 people – BP paid out $65 billion in civil and criminal penalties. Bhopal has so far cost Union Carbide 43 US cents per share on pre tax profits for one year’s dividends. The survivors of Bhopal are of no less value than any other. It’s beyond time that Dow paid adequate compensation, cleaned up its mess, and finally submitted to manslaughter proceedings, which it and Union Carbide have been evading for a total of 34 years.”

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