The Group of Ministers constituted to look into the Bhopal Gas Verdict is due to present its report on Monday. TV channels across the country have reported that the GoM intends to look into all aspects of the issue, and the report will be presented to the Prime Minister on Monday. There have been reports that the GoM will validate the stand of the Law Ministry, that Dow Chemicals is liable for the clean-up of the site. This is strange, given that Mr Chidambaram had earlier argued that Dow was not liable. Is this a result of the furore created post the verdict?
That it took 26 years for the verdict to be delivered is a crime in itself. Indian officials have been indicted in the case, booked for criminal negligence and the crime has been treated as if it were a road accident. All this while Warren Anderson plays golf. Hope you are enjoying the game, Mr Anderson. Loving it while the victims suffer to this day due to your negligence.
Parallels have been drawn to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and the fact that BP now has to pay billions of dollars for the death of a few people and some animals. How many people were killed in Bhopal? Thousand? Two thousand? No. 20,000. The compensation given? 470 million dollars. Which amounts to 500 USD per person. The height of arrogance was a Dow Chemicals official saying "A settlement has been paid. 500 USD in India is enough to treat a person for one year". If you ask me, the person who made that statement should be brought to India and made to visit the site, visit each of the victims' families, each family which is affected, and they will let that person now how much the settlement helped them. Saved them from hell, that did.
President Obama sees the environment as a very important issue. Fair enough, it is time someone took note. He goes on TV, saying he's "searching whose ass to kick" while the people of Bhopal get their asses kicked everyday. Due to the negligence of an American company. This is the same Obama who sees India as a natural ally, and who only weeks ago, eulogized India so much the lot of us went giddy with excitement. Some people would have wet themselves. So if he had so much concern for the environment, and thinks so highly of India, why does he not order Dow to pay liabilities? Why does his administration, to this day, lobby for Dow not being slapped with these liabilities? Why does his administration treat the victims which such utter contempt? Why does he allow Warren Anderson to tend to his garden when he should be sitting in Tihar jail, serving life or waiting for his execution? I'll tell you why. America, for all it's pretence of being a responsible world power, cares not one jot for the world. All they care for is their interest, their companies, and if the same ethics they profess come in the way, sod them all. Because there is one set of standards for Americans, and quite another for brown skinned, third world slumdogs like Indians. Indians exist only to be looted, exploited, and the country exists only to dump toxic waste. If America today needs the Indian economy, they will come to India. Dump their waste, sell their stuff, and if an accident occurs, withhold all information which could save lives, to save their own sorry asses. Why should America and Americans care if Indians die? They live in inhuman conditions anyway. Like I said, one set of rules for Joe from Brooklyn, quite another for Jai from Bhopal. All this while India is "an emerging world power", "a nation which shares our values", yawn, yawn. And this is the country so many of us dream to migrate to. Ask any competent person what they want to do, they want to leave for the US. How does it matter if I betray my country? I care only for myself. I have more "scope" in the US, will earn more money. What does India have for me? Why should I care if America treats my country and its people like dirt? What does that have to do with the money I earn?
But is this not what we deserve? Do we not deserve this when we treat our own people with such utter contempt? The tragedy of Bhopal, more than the negligence, the arrogance of the Americans , is the betrayal by Indian governments, central and state, the judiciary, the media, civil society, the people. When we supposedly spend crores on providing clean drinking water to the people of Bhopal, they continue to suffer from many diseases, since the water is contaminated. Instead of setting things right, our politicians argue that the other party is to blame, "they did not do anything when they were in power!". Well, that holds true for you as well. And we, the people, argue over which party is to blame. If I am a BJP supporter, I will blame the Congress, a Congress supporter, question the validity of the BJP questioning the Congress, a left supporter, blame everybody, but fail to look for solutions. And if i belong to this so called New India, a youth who is sick of the system, I say every politician, bureaucrat is to blame, without understanding that the people are to blame as well, because we did not ask questions, and demand accountability. Why is this latest GoM, after 26 years, making all the right noises? Because, you see, they should be seen to be doing something, they fear for their votes. They fear the people. And instead of using that, every time, in every issue, we let them take us for a ride? We vote the same bunch of incompetent nitwits who can't stitch two coherent, intelligent words together. All they need to do is to polarize on the basis of caste, religion, language, gender. 5 years in the gaddi. Guaranteed. Nothing else matters.
I am sick and tired of this betrayal of our own people. All I want now is for systems to be in place, so that no country ever dares to dump their waste here. No company ever dares to cut corners while they are in India. Welcome to India, Athidhi Devo Bavah, but play by our rules. More importantly, I want every politician to get it into their thick heads that they exist to serve us. Not the other way around. All I want is for the victims to live a peaceful life. They have suffered enough. They are screaming for help. and for 26 years, India, not the establishment, not the judiciary, not the media, continued to remain deaf. Anderson and this drama of extradition is secondary.
Union Government of India to act on Bhopal issue. Could file a curative appeal before the Supreme Court and seek Anderson extradition. June 21 could be a new opening.
I am an optimist, and at least now, I hope the system acts. I hope lessons are learnt. And then, the same nonsense which Union Carbide did, which is going on in Jharkand, in Bellary, should be tackled head on. And if it doesn't, I plan to demand till the establishment gets sick and tired of me, so that it does. I refuse to moan, whinge, complain. Is it too much to hope that another Bhopal does not take place? Is it too much to hope for the India of Gandhi's dreams?