Justice for Bhopal at last?

There’s news, finally, of a possible end to the injustices faced by the victims of the world’s worst industrial tragedy. But in the meantime, those who live with the horrors of what happened in Bhopal in 1984 have been hit with another crisis. Here’s the good news and the bad…

On the morning of 4 December 1984, municipal workers in Bhopal, India were clearing some 4,000 dead bodies and thousands of animal carcasses from the streets following the world’s worst industrial accident.

The toxic cloud that caused the massive death toll formed when water poured into a tank of improperly stored methyl isocyanate (MIC).

It doesn’t look dangerous.  And you can’t smell it until it’s too late.

You can only hope it’s not sitting around anywhere near you . . .

These are the words in the opening chapter of TOXIC, the first book in my DI Donna Davenport series. It was the horror of what happened in Bhopal that inspired me to write the book. Not only what happened on the actual night back in 1984, but the appalling way the victims of the tragedy have been treated since.

The good news (maybe)

On Tuesday February 11th the Indian High Court will hear a curative petition seeking proper compensation for the victims of Bhopal, a battle that has gone on for more than 35 years. There’s a good summary of the history of the legal case here.

This is a hugely important day, with the chance to ensure those who were responsible for the disaster are finally brought to account. The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal are urging us all to join their Twitter campaign to put as much pressure on the court as possible. Please have a look here, and get the pressure on for justice.

The bad news

The Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre is a government-run facility providing a range of medicines and treatments to survivors, but in recent years it’s faced a series of crises. According to India Today, more than 4,000 patients visit the hospital each day. Let that sink in.

Now I’m going to tell you that until a couple of weeks ago, it only had 15 doctors. But, as the Times of India recently exposed, there have been no specialist doctors for the treatment of renal or respiratory disorders, nor any expert oncologists for some time.

Bad enough? Not quite. Wednesday 22nd January saw the mass resignation and walk-out of 14 of the hospital’s 15 doctors.

Please remember Bhopal, and join the international fight for justice, and consider supporting the Bhopal Medical Appeal, whose two clinics are faced with the daunting task of supporting the thousands now struggling to secure vital medical care in Bhopal.

Over to you

Please visit the Bhopal Medical Appeal and the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, and support them in any way you can. And join in the Twitter campaign for the courts to do the right thing on Tuesday.