Saturday, July 24, 2010

Solidarity Alert: Urgent Appeal from Bhopal Protesters

The news is not good on the Bhopal front.  Apparently, the Group of Ministers continues to disappoint.  A thousand Bhopalis are coming to Delhi on 26 July to press their case.  Of course, if they win their demands, we all win a safer, less poisonous future. 

In the name of the Commonwealth Games, the government has banned protesters from sleeping at Jantar Mantar.  (Sorry, but when it comes to a choice between Freedom of Expression and the Commonwealth Games, what did you really expect?) Because of this sad state of affairs, urgent support is needed.  There is a facebook group here.  For more about background about Bhopal and other poisonous issues, go here.

For information about what you can do right now, I'm reproducing the email from protest leaders below.  Do help if you can.
Dear Friends,

It has been a disappointing few weeks for Bhopalis, with the Group of Ministers (GoM) recommendations after the July 7th 2010 verdict failing to address basic injustices faced by the people of Bhopal.  As you know, the Bhopal campaign made every effort to communicate the concerns of Bhopalis with the GoM in the years leading up to the 7th of July. Today, the gas disaster is still killing, injuring and maiming the unborn, even as the media and government debate the future of the people of Bhopal, 26 years after the gas leak.

You, as Friends of Bhopalis, have seen us through the last 26 years of struggle, through Padyatras and the setting up of the Commission, petitions, letter writing, marching, dharnas, and so much more. Today is another very important stage in this struggle for justice. We are writing for your active support at a time when 20,000 people continue to drink poisoned water, thousands of gas victims who were promised jobs remain jobless; medical treatment for the indigent victims remains elusive; the site and its surroundings are polluted, and the culprit – Dow Chemical –freely does business in India. To add to the injuries faced by victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy, we no longer have legal permission to camp on the pavement at Jantar Mantar, because of the Commonwealth Games. Without this public space, and with the disappointing list of recommendations from the GoM, we need your support more than ever! 

1000 Bhopalis will come to Delhi on the 26th of July, to demand that the State (parliament in session) take notice of them. Bhopalis will remain in Delhi until their demands are met. Your support as always would be very crucial for us. 

How Can you Help?

Support in Cash or Kind:

We need your contribution towards the expenses for food, transport and protest material. You may also support us by sharing your resources like sound systems, photocopying/printing/faxing facility.

Most importantly, since we’re not allowed to camp at Jantar Mantar anymore, we are looking for large spaces for the Bhopalis to rest in–rooms, halls etc that are close to JM, have a roof to protect from the rain, and toilet facilities close by. Do let us know if you have tents or tirpaals that you can share with Bhopalis to cover them from the (lovely and wet!) monsoons.

Please send in your donations through a Cheque payable to ‘The Other Media’ and courier it to us at: Rachna Dhingra, C/o ICJB, 44 Sant Kanwar Ram Nagar
Berasia Road, Bhopal, MP 462001

It will be great if you could also inform us through email/call if you send a cheque.

Volunteer:  As you know, being in a new city is not easy for anyone. We are looking for volunteers between the 26th of July and end of August to help take care of Bhopalis in Delhi. Volunteers will be required to stay for either a morning or evening shift. Tasks will include: taking Bhopalis to the doctor if necessary, making photo copies and phonecalls, making posters and placards and generally being on call!

---- Performers: Again, to keep the protests interesting and also keep the mood high at Dharna site, we would appreciate support from all kinds of musicians and artists who can and would like to join in solidarity at Jantar Mantar, play music, dance, sing, paint, juggle, breathe fire, etc.

----Crisis Support: Act as a Guarantor in case Bhopalis are arrested and need bail.

Solidarity Actions: Do organise solidarity actions in your city during the course of our protest in Delhi. Each action by you goes a long way in inspiring us.

So do join us in any way possible, stand in solidarity with the people of Bhopal, and contribute your time and energy towards justice! 

Please do not hesitate in clarifying any issue with us. And contact either of us to confirm your support and contribution.

Looking forward to your emails and calls!

Shalini ( 589 24 989)

Kaveri ( 9958789298)

(PS: Share this call for support with all your contact lists and networks)

Fist Photo: bruckerrlb

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