That’s what India and its judiciary system along with the corporate-hungry judiciary/govt. seems to be saying to the nearly 1,80,0000 people and to more than 25,000 dead of Bhopal who have waited for 26 years for justice and a fair compensation.
On Monday, the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Bhopal delivered an order which at its best gave the accused 2 years of imprisonment and a day after, on Tuesday; all 8 accused were granted bail and released on obedience of a security of Rs. 25,000 by a trial court in Bhopal.
This comes as a complete mockery of the system, the tragedy and the victims. On 3rd December 1984, under the shelter of midnight’s darkness, the deadly Methyl Isocyanate leaked from the Union Carbide factory in the heart of Bhopal, immediately killing and maiming 2,000 people and injuring 300,000 out of the then 800,000 people of Bhopal.
There was no warning; none of the plant’s safety systems were working. The people of Bhopal woke amidst the harrowing darkness and to the soulful sound of screeching screams and with the gases burning their eyes, noses and mouths. They began retching and coughing up lather streaked with blood. The whole neighborhood fled in horror, some were crushed, and others convulsed and fell dead. People lost control of their intestines and bladders as they ran. And within hours thousands of dead bodies lay in the streets; inviting the crows and vultures but alas they too, had fallen prey to the killer gas.
Today the toll has risen to more than 25,000 deaths, and 1,20,000 injured and after 26 years of its unfaithful wait — the Bhopal tragedy has once again been fobbed off in the hands of its own greedy protector — who sold its dead as cheap as $450 million dollars.
Really, is that the life worth of thousands of people of Bhopal, who are still dying from the effect of Methyl Isocyanate? Is that much what the Indian government calculates the life of its poor people as?
Shame on it then, and as Shobhan Saxena so rightfully said in his TOI blog that —
“No country sells its people so cheap. No country sells its poor so cheap. No country sells its dead so cheap.”
My heart goes out to all those people of Bhopal but of what value is my sympathy to them? Zero. Nil. Zilch. None. Nothing!
Yes, that’s what it will measure up to, as the people of Bhopal now seek more than just mere sympathy of its Nation. They seek full attention. They seek a better life. They seek that long lost path of hope which will bring them what they seek the most — Justice.
But in a nation, where the PM himself says — ‘We are a nation of one billion dollars’, who is going to give any heed to the plight of some few thousand poor and ailing citizen?
I am reminded of a four line poem by Fiaz Ahmed Faiz that matches the Bhopal tragedy and its misery.
“Kyun naahak tukde chun-chun kar, Daaman mein chhupaye baithe ho
Sheeshon ka maseeha koi nahin, kyun aas lagaaye baithe ho”
And so there seems to be only one solution to the misery of Bhopal… Die, Bhopal, Die!
The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.