Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bhopal Rally for Justice Update & Video Footage from Al Jazeera English

I was planning to write something on food today; I've been seeing a lot of interesting links about that lately.  But I put that post on the back burner, as they say, when Bhagwad asked for an update on Thursday's post

I confess that when I heard that the march that was to have kicked off Thursday's Bhopal rally had been canceled, I wondered if it had been done on account of low turnout.  That was very far from the truth.  The rally at Jantar Mantar was quite large, in part because 700-800 survivors came up from Bhopal for it.  The march was canceled not for lack of people, but for lack of permission.  (Getting permission to march in Delhi can be difficult, which is a problem in its own right.  I don't know the details of this incident, but I'm sure the request was given late, since all these events are happening so quickly, it would have been impossible to plan this months or even weeks ahead.  Marches and rallies are a vital part of freedom speech and expression, and in cases like this, the government should do what it can to fast track permission.  Otherwise, it looks like it is discouraging dissent, whether or not that is actually the case!)

On Friday, Bhopal survivors protested in front of Home Minister P. Chidambaram's residence.  As far as I know they did not call ahead for an appointment, but I think they made their point.  Photo here.

Thursday's rally got a lot of media attention, but since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's a news report from Al Jazeera English that shows actual footage.

To read more about how the Bhopal organizations feel about the Government proposal, read this editorial at

I managed to make it to two of the sessions of the Defense of Democracy event that I mentioned on Thursday, but I had other obligations and missed some of what I'd hoped to see.  Let me just say that what I did see gave me a lot to think about, but right now there are more pressing issues facing this writer: like how to respond to the demands being advanced by my children for a tasty breakfast. Though I will try to win some concessions in the negotiations--help with egg cracking or water boiling--I think I will need to move myself to the kitchen with haste or I'll be faced with  dharna in my own living room!


  1. Thanks for the news :) . I'm glad this is coming out more into the open. Political leaders are realizing that not doing their job properly now can come to bite them in the ass years later.

  2. @Bhagwad and all,
    It is good things are coming out more in the open. But there is still a long ways to go.

    Just before the final session of the defense of democracy event--performances and singing in CP central park --the authorities once more canceled permission for the gathering!

    I missed that session--took the entire weekend off to be with my kids who are heading back to school in a few days--but I was glad to find out it all went well. One organizer said, "we had quiet a well attended programme, many many people came and also those who came precisely because the permission was denied..." Photos here:

    Some people are suggesting we need MORE public protest or we will risk losing what space there remains for a democratic resistance to policies that are anti-people and anti-environment. It's something we need to think about, moving forward.


What do you think?