Dow has filed its fourth lawsuit against activists in India that are seeking compensation for the 1984 gas leak at a Union Carbide Corporation facility in Bhopal.
The Bhopal disaster killed 15,000 and affected an additional 500,000 in 1984. The plant leaked Methyl isocyanate, which has contaminated the area, including the ground water. Since 1984, activists worldwide have sought to obtain what they feel is suitable compensation and rehabilitation for the deaths and disability caused by the leak. 30 years later, the site is still contaminated.
This year, in an attempt to bring more attention to the situation, Harvard students launched a year-long relay fast. Participants in the fast each abstain from eating for 24 hours, and then hand the fast off to another participant.
Protest on the 29th Anniversary of the Bhopal disaster.
Dow purchased Union Carbide Corporation in 2001. Dow is seeking about $400,000 in the suit against the activists. In 2002, a similar suit was filed for $10,000 for “loss of work” relating to a two-hour demonstration outside the company’s office.
Indians affected by the Bhopal disaster received $500 each. A Dow spokesperson, Kathy Hunt stated,
You can't really do more than that, can you? $500 is plenty good for an Indian.
Reena Shadaan, of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, said in a December interview with Digital Journal
Apparently $500 USD is enough to cover a lifetime of health problems and a loss of working ability amongst the already poor communities that were impacted by the gas disaster.
Dow Chemical reportedly had net sales of over $57 billion in 2013.
A social media campaign is being launched on Twitter to protest the lawsuit.
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal
A meme created by the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal advertising the even on Twitter.
Reena Shadaan took the time to speak with Digital Journal again about the current lawsuit.
Are you aware of any damage caused by activists to Dow facilities?
And how much are they asking for?
They are asking for a sum of 25,000,000 Indian rupees, which is absolutely ridiculous.
Is this the first time Dow has sued activists in India?
No, this is the 4th time they have been sued by Dow. Imagine, the company that gave us Napalm and Agent Orange is suing activists who have non-violently struggled for a clean environment, clean water, healthcare, social and economic rehabilitation, proper compensation and other basic rights.
What is the activist community planning on doing in response?
We want all those who are outraged by this to question Dow on why it is suing these activists, why it has not taken responsibility for the Bhopal gas disaster, and why Dow won’t accept the summons issued by the Indian courts.Those reportedly named in the lawsuit:
Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action
Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action
Safreen Khan of Children against Dow-Carbide
Vivek Sandar of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action
Balkrishna Namdeo of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha (Bhopal Gas Affected Destitute Pensioners Front)
Saladdavil of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action
Sahajad of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action
Rashida Bi of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karmchari Sangh (Bhopal Gas Affected Women's Stationary Union)
Nawab Khan of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha (Bhopal Gas Affected Women's and Men's Front)
The Bhopal Group for Information and Action
The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karmchari Sangh (Bhopal Gas Affected Women's Stationary Union)
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha (Bhopal Gas Affected Women's and Men's Front)
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha (Bhopal Gas Affected Destitute Pensioners Front)