25 years after the greatest industrial accident in the world. 25 years after over 25,000 perished in an agonizing death on the terrible night when the deadly gas leaked out of the Union Carbide chemical factory in Bhopal, India. Or in slow tortureous deaths in the few weeks following that night as people saw their loved ones wither away with little medical help. And as the city of Bhopal began to look like a huge mortuary.
And 25 years later after the hundreds of thousands that were affected by the gas have mostly perished to it’s long term effects, the court finally delivered their judgement today.
It’s a completely irrelavant judgement. For those on whose shoulders lie the responsibility of this avoidable, irresponsible, completely mismanaged accident, have long since made their deals with the government of India and gone. It was one of the greatest and most brutal sellout by the government of India and it’s courts of the people of India.
Union Carbide (a US corporation) that sold an outdated and unsafe technology to it’s Indian co, did a $ 470 million pay out to the Government of India and completely absolved itself of all responsibility, blaming local mishandling. Their CEO, Warren Anderson was spirited out of India, aided and abetted by the Government, within a few days of the accident – never to return despite summons by the courts. Had this accident occurred in the US and be bound by US laws even 25 years ago, the legal compensation would have wiped out the market value of Union Carbide and many Insurance Co’s with it. It would have run into 10’s (if not 100’s) of billions of dollars. And the compensation would have continued today as the people of Bhopal continue to suffer from the thousands of cases of cancer and incurable birth defects in children born to the parents of the people that inhaled the gas on the terrible night. And as toxic waste continues to seep into and through the ground water 25 years later.
But who cared about the poor people of Bhopal ? Certainly not our own Government who like cannibals preyed upon their own people. Apparently very little of the paltry $ 470 million that was paid went to helping the people that suffered, a large part being diverted to the pockets of corrupt officials. The excuse used was that you could not tell who was a victim of the gas tragedy and who was not. As if.
25 years later, are we making the same mistakes ? The law is supposed to be a deterrent to crimes being committed again. This judgement just proves that you could do anything in India and get away with it. Even kill thousands and thousands of people.
If there are people who read this blog and would like to share personal experiences in Bhopal on that tragic day, I will happily publish them, just so we do not forget, nor forgive.