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India: Bhopal Survivors Extend Hunger Strike

The Hindu
July 3rd, 2002

New Delhi -- The indefinite hunger strike by survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy entered the fifth day today with no assurance coming from the government on their demands.

Two woman survivors and an activist from Bhopal started the hunger strike at Jantar Mantar here on June 29 demanding withdrawal of CBI application in the court for dilution of charges against the then Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) chairman Warren Anderson and revocation of the government's decision to distribute compensation funds among the people who were not affected by the 1984 gas disaster.

The CBI had filed an application before the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Bhopal on May 24, seeking modification of charges against Anderson from "culpable homicide" to a "rash and negligent act."

"It is surprising that the prosecuting agency should seek this modification when the accused themselves have chosen to stay away from the process of law for 18 years and have not sought any such relief from the court," said Disabled Rights Group convenor Javed Abidi who visited the site to express the group's solidarity with the protestors.

The two women sitting on the hunger strike are Tara Bai (35) and Rashida Bee (46) while Satinath Sarangi (48), a founder member of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, is the third protestor.

The protest in the capital, organised by the National Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, began with a sit-in on June 26 by some 200 activists while the ongoing hunger strike started on June 29.

The Bhopal gas survivors are also opposing the government's decision to distribute the balance of compensation fund to residents of 20 municipal wards in Bhopal which were not affected by the gas disaster.





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