Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dirty Dow

“ Bhopal isn’t only about charred lungs, poisoned kidneys and deformed foetuses. It’s also about Corporate crime, multinational skullduggery, injustice, dirty deals, medical malpractice, corruption, callousness and contempt for the poor. Nothing else explains why the victims’ average compensation was just $500- for a life time of misery…… yet the victims haven’t given up. Their struggle for justice and dignity is one of the most valiant anywhere. They have unbelievable energy and hope ---- the fight has not ended. It won’t, so long as our collective conscience stirs.” Outlook India 7 Oct 2002

On the eve of the silver jubilee anniversary of the horrific tragedy, the mind less, sense less, soul less Government of India has quietly allowed the Dow Chemicals to set up a research center in Maharashtra, through an MoU with the department of industrial policy and promotion. The department is also preparing a note requesting the Union Cabinet to delink Dow from legal liabilities for the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster. Till now the government held back from permitting Dow fearing strong opposition from civil rights groups and the IIT alumni which has successfully called for a boycott of Dow by IITians. In spite of several cases pending against Dow in Bhopal and several PILs in Supreme Court, the government is paving the way for Dow to enter from backdoor. This is an insult to the 20,000 dead and hundreds of thousands still suffering due to Dow Chemicals continuous refusal to share data on toxic affects of the deadly MIC gas and its refusal to own up even cleaning the huge dump of chemicals still lying at the Bhopal factory, the residue of which sinks into the ground monsoon after monsoon. The picture here taken from http://www.bhopal.net/ is an indication of how a new generation is being poisoned. It is a shame that Indian business tycoons are actively lobbying for Dow’s entry.

The Dirty Dow:
Several colleges and universities in the US have passed resolutions condemning Dow and urging their Institutions to sever all ties with the company unless it resolves its responsibilities in Bhopal. Indian IIT alumni association has called for a boycot of Dow by IITians.

Amnesty Indicts

In December 2004, Dow earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first corporation ever indicted by Amnesty International for violations of human rights. In fact, in its report, Amnesty International cites Bhopal as the prime example of the need for binding human rights standards that can be universally applied to multinational corporations .

During the Vietnam War, Dow became the sole supplier of napalm to the United States military. Napalm, an incendiary liquid used as a weapon in Vietnam, led to human casualties that were widely displayed in the news media, which shook the conscience of the world. There were wide spread protests against Dow but Dow's board of directors voted to continue production of napalm.
Another infamous chemical of Vietnam war , Agent Orange, sprayed liberally on the forests of Vietnam by the U.S. to wipe out the forest cover so that helicopter gun ships can fire at Vietcong. The chemical made its way into the food chain and was linked to a major increase in birth defects among Vietnamese people. In 2005, a lawsuit was filed by Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange against Dow and Monsanto, which also supplied Agent Orange to the military.

Dow has settled multiple law suits in the US and elsewhere giving away billions in compensation but steadfastly refuses even to clean up the factory at Bhopal not to mention the compensation liability it has inherited from Union Carbide.


We have to stop Dow from escaping the legal liabilities through a Government Order. Citizen action and pressure campaigns through e mail may help. Given below is a link which allows you to send e-mail to H.R. Bhardwaj, Minister of Law & Justice, Oscar Fernandes, Minister of Labour & Employment and Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce & Industry.

The fight has not ended. It won't, so long as our collective conscience stirs.


Rajesh Kumar said...

I have lived in Bhopal, which is otherwise a very lovely city.
The plant is in a locked state and reports say that there are tons of dangerous chemicals still locked inside. It is in a fairly populous end of the city and one shudders to think what would happen if something goes wrong again. But then, talk about responsibility.

Plus, as you highlighted, the long term effects of poisoning has caused and continues to cause such horrible sufferings.

As a nation we are meek(sad to use that term but cannot think of anything else) people.

How could we have not put the responsible people behind bars for life?

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Amit aryan said...

We know clearly that life is lost in an instant. When it is removed by a corporation says perverse and dirty work for human good, is not the case, will never live those who were exposed.Genocide and nobody is paying the consequences. So continue to support the thieves of lives. you may be the next victim of these morons. In addition,many of them are still making money hiding their dirty conscience in a world that is only interested in money, multinational corporations have a long dark history of abuses of power and power over supposedly "free" governments. Reining them in and sharply curtailing their power is something everyone with a good conscience should be a part of..