At the 30th anniversary of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the world’s largest industrial disaster which killed over 20,000 people overnight and poisoned the remaining for life, instead of losing faith in morality and justice, let’s try to look from the perspective of the capital giants, the legislature and the government.
Can Mr. Warren M. Anderson, the American businessman who served as Chairman and CEO of Union Carbide Corporation and who was fully responsible for the designing of the carbide plant be blamed for the tragedy? He passed away without as much as a trial in an Indian court. He should be pitied, if anything, as he died without redemption. He might have found it better to serve the punishment by an Indian court, must have been very minuscule anyway, because of a 1996 Supreme Court order which diluted the charges — from culpable homicide to causing death by negligence, decreasing his chances of punishment to a mere two years imprisonment.
But even that couldn’t be done, even after the Indian Government’s attempts at asking the US government to extradite him to India in 2003, after releasing him from a brief house arrest, believing him when he said that he’ll return for trial. Obviously there is such a thing as the promise of the tongue.
And yes, how can a court in New York under US law rule on the issue of ongoing soil and groundwater contamination against UCC, a company that employs more than 2,400 people in the US?
Everybody has their reasons to do what they did. Money has always won over morals. Even business ethics, which would have made the plant shut down after the 1982 inspection report that stated, “leaking valves could create serious exposure”, succumbed under capital benefits. That is the law of human capital nature.
Apart from one good news in 30 years regarding the hike in compensation on the basis of data from medical research and hospital records by the minister of chemical and fertilizers, we wait to see if the efforts of people to get the involvement of United Nations be fruitful. It should be done to raise the issue at an international level and garner funds and help in undoing the environmental damage from the gas factory and proper healthcare in the affected areas.
Probably, the people who drink poisoned water even thirty years later, witness deformed births, and are haunted by memories of their loved ones they lost on December 3, 1984 would have to look upon Judgment Day for the true and complete justice after death. Haven’t they learnt anything from the 31.3 million pending cases in India?
Let’s hail the justice system!
Disclaimer: This is a satirical piece, and the author totally blames the UCC, DOW, and the lax efforts on the part of Indian government and the Supreme Court for the tragedy and the delayed/denied justice.