Thursday, June 24, 2010

Delhi Action Alert: Rally for Justice in Bhopal (Today); In Defense of Democracy (Fri.-Sat.)


As we wrote last week, it is good to see the government finally paying some attention to Bhopal.  Unfortunately, it seems that the recommendations made in the Group of Ministers' report will fall far short of reasonable.  Most disturbingly, the proposed compensation process will leave out something like 90 percent of the people affected by the disaster, including children with disabilities caused by the poison their parents were exposed to.  And while it is nice to hear that the cabinet will be discussing renewed efforts to extradite Warren Anderson, one has to take this with a fist full of salt, given the historical reluctance of the US to extradite its citizens and the signals the Indian government has sent on this issue in the past.

There has been a lot written about Bhopal recently: new blog posts, letters to the editors, and mainstream investigative stories are published every day. Many of them are well argued and insightful, like this editorial from CSE's Sunita Narain.  All this public discussion and outcry has been healthy and has moved the issue farther forward than it has moved in years.  

But as much as I like clever essays--after all, that's a large part of what we do here at the Dhaba-- my reading of the tea leaves says that the best thing we can do to move things farther along on the road to a reasonably just outcome to the Bhopal tragedy is to take some more tangible action.  If you live in Delhi and are free today (Thursday, June 24), you are in luck, because there will be a Rally for Justice in Bhopal this morning, organized by a wide range of groups concerned with justice in Bhopal.  Here's the basic information:

WHERE: Mandi House to Jantar Mantar, New Delhi
WHEN: 24 JUNE, 2010. 11 a.m. TODAY
WHY:
To condemn the latest betrayal of Bhopal

You can find more details at the Delhi Greens blog or at the Facebook event page. This rally promises to start on time, so don't be late.

BREAKING UPDATE: Just saw this update on the Facebook page: The Rally has been cancelled and the Bhopal people are now camping at Jantar Mantar.  Do join there ! 

(For those of you that spent over an hour in sweaty autos only to find no rally, let me just say that I empathize you, having done the same thing myself. I did finally manage to get a copy of Anindita Sengupta's new collection of poetry while I was in the Sahitya Akademi neighborhood, so there was a silver lining!)

You can still sign this petition from Avaaz.org.  For more about Bhopal and other related issues, see our Toxics & Trash page.
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The BP leak, the Bhopal verdict, and the Nuclear Liability Bill have reminded environmentalists how many issues are closely related.  There are more, of course: farmers-forests-mining-Maoists are all connected to each other in important ways, as is the state's response to these things.  

A coalition of groups concerned with justice and the environment will be remembering the 35th anniversary of the Emergency this Friday and Saturday in Delhi, with a conference called In Defense of Democracy .  This agenda looks outstanding: poets, politicians, activists and all kind of other interesting people will be there.  Do attend if you can.  For more details, see the Facebook event page or look here if you don't do Facebook.
 

3 comments:

  1. Just saw this update on the Facebook page: The Rally has been canceled and the Bhopal people are now camping at Jantar Mantar. Do join there. These last minute changes happen, though they can be frustrating, as I well know. If anyone has time to stop by Jantar Mantar, it would be appreciated, I'm sure.

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  2. Bhagwad--I made the quick update into a post of it's own. Some video footage there. Thanks for asking; I almost forgot to finish the story!

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