Organisations representing the 1984 gas tragedy survivors on Monday \staged a protest in Bhopal against the visit of US President Donald Trump.

Donald Trump with PM Modi on his first maiden visit to India

Organisations representing the 1984 gas tragedy survivors on Monday \staged a protest in Bhopal against the visit of US President Donald Trump claiming his dispensation was not extending help in the ongoing trial into what has been widely acknowledged as the world’s worst industrial disaster.

Bhopal gas survivors staging a protest on Monday.A. M. Faruqui  

Modi not standing with nation, failing to question United States government, say survivors

Bhopal gas tragedy survivors on Monday, the day United States President Donald Trump arrived in India, alleged he was refusing to serve summons issued repeatedly by a Bhopal court on the firm responsible for the world’s worst industrial disaster, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi had failed to press the U.S. government to act.

Accusing the Trump government of sheltering the Dow Chemical Company, which in 2001 had acquired Union Carbide, from whose pesticide plant here a methyl isocyanate leak in 1984 killed thousands and caused deformities and congenital diseases in lakhs, the demonstrators beat Mr. Trump’s effigy with brooms at the Iqbal Maidan in Bhopal.

“Mr. Modi is not standing with the country’s people and failing to ask Mr. Trump tough questions. Instead, crores of rupees are being spent for his reception,” said Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action. “It is shocking that our Prime Minister in his eagerness to please Mr. Trump has not sought, let alone pressed for, the U.S. government’s cooperation in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

Stating that Mr. Trump’s visit aimed at only expanding his corporate agenda in India, she alleged, “He is here to further the interests of death-dealing American corporations like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Westinghouse.”

Since 2016 when Mr. Trump came to power, the court had twice summoned the Dow Chemical Company, as the owner of Union Carbide is absconding on the charge of corporate manslaughter, said Rashida Bi, president, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karamchari Sangh. “But the U.S. Department of Justice has refused to serve these summons on the firm,” she said.

Meanwhile, Nasreen Khan of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha accused the U.S. of sheltering the perpetrators of the disaster. “This is in violation of the the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between India and U.S..”

Untimely deaths

Pointing to hundreds of survivors dying untimely, Durgesh Ahirwar of Children against Dow Carbide said, “Hundreds of thousands are battling chronic illnesses and tens of thousands of children are being born with malformations and growth disorders. Through our brooms we are telling the world about the U.S. government’s role in perpetuating the injustice in Bhopal.”

Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action said protesters at Bhopal’s Iqbal Maidan registered their anger at the US government not serving summons issued by a court in MP’s capital city to Dow Chemicals, an American multi-national company.

Dow Chemicals is the current owner of Union Carbide, from whose factory in Bhopal poisonous gas leaked on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984, killing 3,000 people and affecting 1.02 lakh.

“Since 2016, when Trump came to power, the Bhopal district court has twice summoned Dow Chemical, as the owner of Union Carbide, on charges of corporate manslaughter.

“However, the US Department of Justice has refused to serve these summons on Dow,” Dhingra said.

The protesters held placards alleging the Trump administration was sheltering fugitives of the Bhopal tragedy.

In Indore, local organisations protested at regal Chauraha by forming a human chain, which also saw the participation of former state advocate general Anand Mohan Mathur.

Talking to reporters, Mathur claimed Trump had come to India as part of a “conspiracy” to obtain votes of American citizens of Gujarati origin in the US presidential elections due in November.

“Another purpose of Trump’s visit to India is to sell the arms of US companies. But history has shown that America’s capitalist mindset has been against India’s interests,” Mathur said.

Protesters in Indore held placards demanding that US investment in India’s agriculture, animal husbandry and dairy sectors be banned.

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