Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Torchlight march and Bhopal Disaster Museum

#Bhopal30 From Sam Macartney and Scott Donohoe in Bhopal: Tuesday began with a national solidarity meeting with families and NGOs who support the campaign.Then a visit to the workplace of the women who have taken the fight to the courts and the Indian government. They have their own trade union now but they still haven't received justice for the disaster. Next we visited the new Bhopal People's Disaster Museum. This is a tribute to those that lost their lives and those who are still suffering. It was very harrowing but very moving.

We then joined with families, activists and campaigners on a torchlight rally to the old factory walls. This was incredible. Real torches steeped in paraffin were carried through the city for about two miles. See videos by Sanjay Verma here.

The torches were kept alight during the march by men refilling these wood and metal torches with fuel. In the darkness this was a fantastic sight but I can't see this catching on in Scotland due to health and safety concerns (that's a real shame).

Finally, the hunger fast starts at midnight tonight for 30 hours signifying one hour for every year that has passed since the disaster caused by Union Carbide.

Bill Kidd MSP has lodged the following motion in the Scottish Parliament.
30th Anniversary of World’s Worst Industrial Accident in Bhopal
That the Parliament recognises that 3 December 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the catastrophic poisonous gas leak from a pesticide factory in the city of Bhopal, which led to what is widely considered to be the world’s worst-ever industrial accident; pays tribute to the 25,000 people killed, their grieving families and the 120,000 survivors who have been made ill by the accident, most of whom are understood not to have access to adequate healthcare; believes that the company that was responsible for the incident, Union Carbide, which is now known as Dow Chemical, has not accepted responsibility; understands that, although the factory is closed, toxins continue to enter the only drinking water available to many Bhopalis and this has led to a second disaster in making people ill and in children being born dead or disabled; further understands that, since 1984, there has been steep growth in industries producing hazardous chemicals, both in India and throughout the world, which has led to consequent damage to workers’ health and safety, and notes that a Scottish delegation, with representatives from the unions, Community, CWU, UCU, NUJ, Unison and Unite, the Edinburgh TUC, the STUC, the Bhopal Medical Appeal, European Work Hazards Network, Scottish Friends of Bhopal and the Scottish Hazards Campaign, is travelling to Bhopal to offer solidarity on the 30th anniversary and to learn from the commitment, strength and endurance of the Bhopali people in order to support Scotland’s own struggles for safer and cleaner workplaces and environments.

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