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Gas victims to agitate before PM's house

Ipsha in Bhopal | February 28, 2005 21:10 IST

The victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy will hold a massive demonstration in front of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's residence on Tuesday.

They will also move the Supreme Court against the Madhya Pradesh government's proposed move to wind up the Gas Relief and Rehabilitation Department and merge gas relief hospitals with the Public Health Department, Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sanghthan Convenor Abdul Jabbar said.

Chief Minister Babulal Gaur had announced the decisions on December 1, 2004, two days before the 20th anniversary of the tragedy.

Thousands died and many others were maimed when Methyl isocyanate gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal on the intervening night of December 2-3 in 1984. Many thousands still continue to suffer from the after-effects of the disaster.

Jabbar said the survivors would demand the constitution of an autonomous body to oversee the treatment provided to the victims.

He said the MP government's decisions were a gross injustice to the victims.

"The decision to rescind the special status is provoked by the myth that majority of the victims are from the minority community who don't vote for the ruling BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party]," alleged Jabbar.

To discriminate against victims on the basis of religion is abhorrent, he remarked. He pointed out that 58 per cent of the victims belonged to the majority community.

What is more unfortunate is the fact that the decision to deprive the victims of specialised medical care has been taken by a government under a chief minister who is himself a gas victim, Jabbar said.

The CM had recently taken Rs 250,00 as compensation, he added.

The government's decision is also in total disregard to the instructions of the Supreme Court, which had expressed concern about victims' treatment, Jabbar said.

He claimed the number of victims seeking medical care as outpatients had increased from 28,000 per month in 1985 to 42,000 in 2005. Similarly the number of inpatients had also swelled up to 30,000 from 15,000 in 1985, Jabbar said.

He said the state government's decision to replace the five-member Gas Victims' Welfare Committee with a 36-member state-level Gas Relief Advisory Committee was an indication of the enormity of the problems being faced by the gas victims.


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