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Saturday, Nov 09, 2002

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`Broom' campaign by Bhopal victims against Dow Chem

S. Gopikrishna Warrier


WOMEN victims of the Bhopal gas leak have launched a campaign to sweep the facilities owned by Dow Chemicals away from India and will be carrying out a demonstration in front of its joint venture company at Thirubhuvanai industrial estate in Pondicherry.

The demonstration - under the "Jhadoo Maro Dow ko" campaign - will see women victims of the gas leak dumping brooms in the facility and also presenting them to officials at the site, according to Mr Nityanand Jayaraman, a volunteer with the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.

The demonstrations will be held from November 9 to 11.

Dow Chemicals Company, the multinational chemical giant, bought over Union Carbide Corporation in February 2001. A Union Carbide plant at Bhopal caused the gas leak in December 1984, killing thousands of people and permanently injuring many.

The Pondicherry plant of Anabond Essex Pvt Ltd is being targeted for the campaign since it is a 50:50 joint venture between Anabond Pvt Ltd and Essex Speciality Product, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Dow Chemicals, Mr Jayaraman said.

According to Ms Champa Devi Shukla, one of the survivors of the gas leak, Dow Chemicals cannot wash its hands off the liabilities that the Union Carbide had left behind at Bhopal.

She said that the Bhopal survivors have a four-point demand: They want Dow Chemicals to appear in the case being heard by the Chief Judicial Magistrate at Bhopal. It should also take full responsibility and pay for the medical treatment of gas victims and their children.

Further, they want Dow to clean the contaminated groundwater around the plant site, and provide employment to those who have become weak due to the adverse effects of the gas.

Ms Shukla said the ill-effects of the gas leak are still being felt. While the survivors have never had good health since the leak, children are being born with deformities and defects.

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`Broom' campaign by Bhopal victims against Dow Chem

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