BHOPAL (Madhya Pradesh): Thousands of survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy — known as the world’s worst industrial disaster — continue to face appalling lack of healthcare facilities, activists said on December 2. The statement came on the eve of the incident’s 35th anniversary.
The activists said the “neglect” of the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC), set up especially for the survivors, was a testimony to the suffering undergone by them over the last 35 years.
Bhopal Gas Tragedy is also known as the Bhopal Disaster in which thousands of people lost their lives.
At around midnight, the chemical reaction started in the Union Carbide (India) Limited factory that culminated in the leakage of deadly Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) gas from one of the tanks of the factory.
As a result, a cloud of gas gradually started descending and enveloping the city in its lethal folds. And the city and lakes turned into a gas chamber.
It was estimated that 40 tonnes of Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) gas leakage took place with some other toxic chemicals from the Union Carbide Factory.
Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) is a chemical that is used in the manufacture of polyurethane foam, pesticides, and plastics. It is handled in liquid form which can be easily burned and explosive. It evaporates quickly in the air and has a strong odour. Its molecular formula is CH3NCO or C2H3NO and its molecular weight is approx. 57.05 g/mol. It is used in the production of pesticides, polyurethane foam, and plastics.
If the concentration of the toxic gas in the air touches 21 ppm (parts per million) then after inhaling it can cause death within minutes. On that day in Bhopal, the level was multiple times higher than that.
Within three days of the leak, thousands of people were found dead primarily due to severe health complications ranging from pulmonary oedema to fatty degeneration of the liver.
As per official data, the leakage of the MIC took place from the Plant Number C. For cooling the plant, methyl isocyanate gas was mixed with water. It led to the generation of volumes of gases and as a result, put tremendous pressure on tank Number 610. Finally, the pressure of the gas increases and released tonnes of the poisonous gas and diffused a large number of areas. It is said that approximately 5 lakhs people were exposed to the leakage of MIC.
Bhopal’s population in 1984 was around 8.5 lakhs. More than half of the population on the morning after a leakage at midnight were coughing, complaining about itchiness in eyes, skin and were facing breathing problems.
Some people suffered from pneumonia, internal haemorrhage, and death. Even, the people living in villages and slums in the neighbouring areas were affected most.
As with any other city in the world, Bhopal healthcare system did not have the capacity to accommodate half of the city population at one go.
People were not able to breathe and doctors who did not know about the factory gas leak were finding it difficult initially to understand why people are facing so many difficulties.
Also, the doctors had no experience in dealing with the industrial disaster. Doctors were not aware of the symptoms of MIC exposure. It was reported that two government hospitals of Bhopal treated approximately 50,000 patients in two days after the MIC leakage.
The lungs, brain, eyes, muscles, as well as gastrointestinal, neurological, reproductive and immune systems of those who survived, were severely affected.
Dead bodies of humans and animals blocked the street, leaves of the plant turned black and the smell of burning chilli peppers lingered in the air.
Growing foetuses were getting either aborted or severely affected. Fertility in both men and women was affected in one stroke.
Even after months, traces of several toxins were found in the breast milk of mothers and were transmitted to the babies.
After the disaster, the neonatal mortality rate increased by 200% and the stillbirth rate by 300%.
Moreover, even the next generation of children born in the affected areas had twisted arms and legs, extra limbs or body parts, musculoskeletal disorders, brain damage and underweight issues. Some people continue to suffer from chronic health conditions to this day.
THE DANGER LIES RIGHT THERE. STILL. 35 YEARS LATER.
Amid all the debates, many people have, unfortunately, forgotten about the 360 tonnes of highly toxic, hazardous waste lying around at the abandoned site of UCIL. Despite numerous steps from the government and protests and litigations by many activists, a permanent solution to the waste problem remains elusive.
The toxic materials on the premises of UCIL continue to pollute soil and groundwater of Bhopal.
Since 2005, the government has considered three different places in India, including Ankleshwar in Gujarat, Nagpur in Maharashtra and Pithampur in Madhya Pradesh for the incineration of packed toxic waste, but could not go ahead because of the strong opposition by the local community.
In 2012, a proposal was made by Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to airlift the waste to Germany for incineration, but it was later withdrawn.
Even as the authorities struggle to find a permanent solution to the toxic menace, the waste materials at UCIL serve as a constant reminder of the worst industrial disaster known to humankind.
Believe It Or Not, The Congress Govt Of Madhya Pradesh Awarded Another Contract To The Company Soon After The Disaster:
Despite the massive disaster, Union Carbide was not considered a pariah in the government corridors. A civil society group, International Coalition For Justice in Bhopal (ICJIB), formed in Australia for justice to gas victims had accused the Rajiv Gandhi government of entering into commercial transactions with Union Carbide ignoring the suffering of victims.
In a letter, dated 3 December, 1986, the ICJIB said, “It is reported that in 1985, after the occurrence of the Bhopal disaster, Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) was awarded a Rs 100 million (approximately $8 million) contract by the Madhya Pradesh government for the manufacture/distribution of condoms.”
The letter triggered an emergency meeting in the PMO to discuss the allegations. The internal note dated February 9, 1987, and signed by Chaubey admitted that UCIL was indeed doing business in India after Bhopal disaster but the contract was signed prior to the tragedy.
A day later, GK Arora, then additional secretary in the PMO, told the officials that they need to explore options to move UCIL share in condom distribution to some other firms.
“The arrangement existing between the Ministry of Health and the Union Carbide for social marketing of contraceptives should be examined afresh. Efforts should be made to get some other companies including multi-nationals such as Hindustan Lever, ITC, etc, to pick up UCIL’s share,” GK Arora wrote.
How Warren Anderson Escaped From India With Rajiv Gandhi’s Help:
Several Indian and global reports and accounts have suggested that the government of the prime minister of India Rajiv Gandhi was pressured by the US to let Anderson go.
Rajiv Gandhi Freed Warren Anderson: DECLASSIFIED CIA REPORT
Warren Anderson, former chairman of the American parent company Union Carbide Corp responsible for the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, was released after being arrested on December 7 that year on the Central government’s orders to Madhya Pradesh.
This fact about the gas tragedy has emerged from declassified CIA documents dated 8 December 1984: a day after Anderson left India and five days after the deadly methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked from Union Carbide’s Bhopal plant.
The documents show Anderson’s quick release was ordered by the Central government of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. With elections weeks away, the Centre felt the Madhya Pradesh government was overly eager to score political points against Union Carbide. The Centre felt that public pressure after the gas tragedy would force a new government to move cautiously in developing foreign investment with multinationals, especially US companies.
The documents say that with elections nearing, politicians at the state and Centre were trying to deflect blame from themselves to UCIL (Union Carbide India Ltd.) and wring compensation from the parent company.
Moti Singh, who was the District Collector of Bhopal at the time of the gas leak, has said that Anderson was arrested at around 2 pm on December 7 but he was released the same day and flew out of Bhopal in a state government plane to New Delhi.
Singh claims the then Chief Secretary of the state government ordered him to release Anderson.
Congress leader Arjun Singh, who was Chief Minister Madhya Pradesh in 1984, is believed to have ordered his officials to release Anderson as a part of “only implementing” the Centre’s instructions in the gas leak case.
Anderson was charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, grievous assault and killing and poisoning human beings and animals. A Bhopal trial court convicted eight Indian officials of Union Carbide for their criminal negligence that triggered the world’s worst industrial disaster, but Anderson was not mentioned in the judgment.
Moti Singh, who was the Bhopal collector at the time of Bhopal Gas Tragedy said, “Had we removed the landline phone from his room, Anderson would not have escaped. He possibly made calls to contacts in the US to help him leave India.” According to various reports, the Indian government came under the pressure of the US government and allowed Anderson to escape.
Swaraj Puri, Bhopal’s Superintendent of Police in 1984 claimed, “We arrested him on the basis of a written order but released him on an oral order.” He further added that the oral order came “from higher-ups”.
One of the reasons attributed to Rajiv Gandhi’s soft attitude towards Anderson is “Quid pro quo“.
In 2015 during Monsoon Session, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a mention of a little-known name called Adil Shahryar. Adil Shahryar was the son of Rajiv Gandhi’s friend. Shahryar was a childhood friend of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
In the early 80s, Adil Shahryar had a company called Caribbean International Investment Corporation, which had signed a deal with Shapton Producers to supply video cassettes. Instead, he supplied scrap paper. Shahryar had fallen out with the suppliers and had later attempted to set fire to his hotel room. He was taken to custody in Miami in 1981. He was charged with defrauding shipping authorities, American Express International Banking Corporation, he was also charged with use of a firearm. As a result, he was sentenced to 35 years in jail by the US fed court.
In June 1985, Ronald Reagan administration in the United States granted a presidential pardon to Adil Shahryar. Reagan commuted the sentence of 13 people in prison; also important is the fact that Reagan signed the clemency papers of Adil on June 11, 1985; incidentally, it’s the day when Rajiv landed in Washington. Rajiv secured the release of Adil Shahryar in exchange for the gesture of releasing Anderson earlier. A quid pro? It’s to be noted that Rajiv was vocal in saying that “Adil was wrongly imprisoned”.
Sushma Swaraj taunted Rahul Gandhi to ask his mother, “Mumma, Mumma, how my father released the murderer of 15,000 people,” and later on referred to Arjun Singh’s biography in which he wrote about Rajiv Gandhi whispering in his ear to allow Anderson to go and that what he was told will always remain secret and vanish with his death (Mere saath chita me bhasm ho jayega).
Sushma Swaraj said that the secret, however, came out after six months. Swaraj further said that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi allowed safe passage to Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson in a “quid pro quo” to secure the release of his childhood friend Adil Shahryar.
Netaji historian Anuj Dhar draws our attention as to why Gandhi allowed Anderson to go. He writes that Muhammad Yunus was a close confidant of Nehru and knew details about the Bose case. Read him here (takes you to an external site) about the issue:
Hizbul Mujahideen On The Verge Of Extinction In South Kashmir: JK Police Chief
The DGP said that this year started with several successful operations against the terrorists.
SRINAGAR (Jammu-Kashmir UT): Jammu & Kashmir Director General of Police, Dilbagh Singh has said that the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit is on the verge of extinction in south Kashmir.
Describing yesterday’s killing of three Hizbul terrorists as a major success against terrorism and the outfit, DGP Singh warned that strict action shall be taken against all those who take up arms against the country.
Addressing a press conference at the Police Control Room in Srinagar yesterday, the DGP said, slain terrorists were involved in grave terror activities adding that killed Commander Wasim Wani was active since 2017.
The DGP said that 19 FIRs were lodged against Wasim including the killing of four civilians and four policemen.
Singh said, another terrorist Adil Bashir Sheikh from Zainapora Shopian was a former Special Police Officer who decamped with seven AK-47 rifles and a pistol belonging to security guards of a former PDP MLA. He was active since 2018.
DGP said that year 2020 started with an excellent anti-terrorism operations including the arrest of Hizbul top Commander Naveed Babu.
DGP said interrogation of Naveed helped police succeeding in busting two big terrorist hideouts in south Kashmir. Pertinently, a total of eight terrorists including seven of Hizbul and one of Jaish cadre, were killed in anti-terrorist operations this year till date.
Complaint Filed Against Shaheen Bagh Protesters For Road Blockade
The complaint states that immense inconvenience has been caused to commuters.
NEW DELHI: A complaint has been registered against protestors in Shaheen Bagh area of Delhi for blocking the road while protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
According to Delhi Police, the complaint states that immense inconvenience has been caused to commuters as they have to take alternate routes due to ongoing anti-CAA protest in Shaheen Bagh area. For the past 35 days, people are forced to take alternate routes causing immense inconvenience, the complaint said.
The complainant has requested the police to lodge an FIR and remove the blockade immediately.
Southeast Delhi Deputy Commissioner of Police Chinmoy Biswal has said that talks are being held with the protesters to persuade them to stage agitation without blocking the roads.
His remarks come after the Delhi High Court asked the Delhi Police to look into the matter of blockage of Kalindi Kunj road due to the protest at Shaheen Bagh.
The court in its recent order had also directed the police to consider the plight of students who have to travel to schools and also have board examinations. Justice Navin Chawla had further directed the police to consider the representation of the Federation of Sarita Vihar Resident’s welfare association.
The association had moved the court claiming that there are many students who are facing difficulties during board examinations as the area is closed since December 15, due to ongoing protests against the Act.
On Sunday, people took out a candle march protest against the CAA, NRC, and NPR outside Jamia Millia Islamia to Shaheen Bagh, holding tricolors, and placards and posters reading ‘Save India, Save Constitution and Save Democracy’.
On Saturday, actor Sushant Singh joined protests at Shaheen Bagh and expressed solidarity with students.
‘Dr Bomb’ Was Developing Low-Cost Bomb Using Ultra-Modern Technique: UP STF
Ansari, suspected of involvement in more than 52 blast cases across India, went “missing” on Thursday.
LUCKNOW (Uttar Pradesh): The convict of Mumbai Blast Case Jaleesh Ansari who was arrested on Friday by a special task force of Uttar Pradesh police has made some startling revelations during interrogation.
He told police that he was planning to develop new technology of low-cost bomb-making.
STF SP Vishal Vikram Singh told media persons that Ansari has admitted his involvement in at least 15 cases of bomb blasts all over the country in which many innocent people lost their lives. These blasts occurred from 1989 to 1993.
Ansari revealed that he was developing an ultra-modern technique of bomb-making which needs simple chemicals and day to day use items.
The plan was to develop a low-cost bomb that can be made easily from the things available in the market and which will do maximum damage also.
A convict in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case, Jalees Ansari, who went “missing” while on parole, was arrested on Friday from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, an official said.
Ansari (68), a Mumbai resident who was serving a life term in a Rajasthan jail, was nabbed in a joint operation of Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad and the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF).
Ansari, known as Dr Bomb for his suspected involvement in more than 52 blast cases across the country, went “missing” on early Thursday morning.
He was on 21-day parole and was expected to return to Ajmer Central Jail by Friday evening after the end of the parole period.
While on parole, he was ordered to visit the Agripada police station every day between 10.30 am and 12 pm to mark attendance, he said.
However, Ansari did not visit the police station on Thursday during the designated time, the official said.
The Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police, the Maharashtra ATS and other agencies launched a massive manhunt for the terror convict, he said.
Jalees was allegedly connected with terror outfits like SIMI and Indian Mujahideen and taught their members how to make bombs, which earned him the sobriquet Dr Bomb, he said.
He was also questioned by the NIA in 2011 in connection with the 2008 bomb blast in Mumbai, he said.
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