TNN | Sep 29, 2013,

BHOPAL: The Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission (MPHRC) has given a clean chit to the police for its crackdown on gas survivors two years ago. On the 27th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy in December 2011, survivors had stopped trains in the heart of the city demanding adequate compensation from Union Carbide and better healthcare for those affected by the world’s worst industrial disaster.The agitation had turned violent triggering harsh police action which caused injuries to 100 people, including gas survivors, journalists and cops.

After two years of investigation, MPHRC concluded that police action was necessary to bring the situation under control as organisations fighting for gas victims had turned violent. This could have led to loss of life and property if police had not used force, the human rights report stated.

The clean chit to the police triggered a strong reaction from gas survivors. An organisation fighting for the victims, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, has called the MPHRC report a farce. One of the members, Rachna Dhingra, said, “We have minute-by-minute photographic evidence of police brutality on peaceful demonstrators. We condemn MPHRC’s findings and will challenge the report.”

More than 100 people suffered injuries during the protest in December 2011. Police lobbed over 90 tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. Over 2,000 people, including gas association leaders, Bal Krishna Namdev and Rashida Bi were arrested.

MPHRC had taken cognizance of the incident and asked police to file a report within a fortnight. The commission sought replies on a number of issues ranging from police preparation and whether the organisations fighting for gas survivors had informed cops in advance about their protest.

Later, MPHRC was dissatisfied with the police report and kicked off its own investigation to find out the circumstances that led to the violence.

After going through video recordings and taking statements of a number of people, MPHRC concluded that action taken by the police was adequate and necessary. MPHRC deputy secretary Kuldeep Jain confirmed to TOI that a clean chit has been given to the police and the matter has been closed.


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