Partial Chronology of Union Carbide's Bhopal Disaster

Dec. 2-3, 1984:
Gas spill at the Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal kills 8,000 in first three days. Over 120,000 injured.

Dec. 6, 1984: Warren Anderson, chairman of Union Carbide arrested in Bhopal. He is released on bail on Dec. 7 and flees country.

April 1985: Indian government passes the Bhopal Act declaring itself the sole legal representatives of the victims.

July 1985: Union Carbide files motion to have case dismissed from U.S. courts.

May 1986: Judge John F. Keenan dismisses case from U.S. courts.

Sept. 5, 1986: Government of India files $3.3 billion claim on behalf of all the gas victims against Union Carbide with the Bhopal District Court.

Dec. 1, 1987: India's Central Bureau of Investigation files homicide charges against Warren Anderson.

May 1988: India formally charges Union Carbide with criminal wrongdoing.

Nov. 1988: Arrest warrant issued for Warren Anderson.

Feb. 1989: Anderson declared a fugitive from justice.

Feb. 14, 1989: Indian Supreme Court announces a surprise settlement of $470 million with Union Carbide and discharge of all future civil and criminal charges.

Oct. 1991: Indian Supreme Court upholds the settlement but withdraws the immunity from criminal charges.

March, 1992: Bhopal courts orders Government of India to seek extradition of Anderson from the United States.

Feb. 1994: Supreme Court of India allows Union Carbide to sell off its shares in Union Carbide India Limited.

2001: Dow Chemical purchases Union Carbide.

Aug. 28, 2002: Application to reduce criminal charges against former Union Carbide chairman Warren Anderson rejected by Indian courts.

March 2003: Judge John F. Keenan's of the Southern District Court of New York dismisses Bhopal survivors' civil damages lawsuit. As part of their appeal survivors will request that Keenan be removed from the case forthwith.

May 1, 2003: Survivors Rashida Bee and Champi Devi Shukla and their supporters begin a hunger strike for justice in Bhopal.

May 8, 2003: Rashida Bee and Champi Devi Shukla meet with Dow's CEO, who denies that the company holds any responsibility towards Bhopal.


Cassels, Jamie. "Outlaws: Multinational Corporations and Catastrophic Law" from Cumberland Law Review, Winter, 2001.

Fortun, Kim. Advocacy After Bhopal: Environmentalism, Disaster, New Global Orders. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2001.

Helene Vosters is a San Francisco Bay Area teacher, activist and journalist.

AMP Section Name:Human Rights
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