WASHINGTON - March 20 - Advocates for survivors of the 1984 Bhopal Chemical Disaster seek to meet with the Indian Ambassador at a rally noon Friday, March 24th at the Indian Embassy in Washington DC. They want him to support their request: that the Indian Prime Minister meet with a Bhopal survivor delegation next week -- at the end of their 500-mile, month-long march from Bhopal to New Delhi on foot.
Advocates will read from a letter to the Indian Prime Minister by Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Congressional colleagues, asking him to meet with the survivors and grant their demands. The rally will begin with a noon march from DuPont Circle to the Indian Embassy, ending with a 12:30-2pm Rally & Meeting at Indian Embassy, 2107 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.
“It is unacceptable to allow an American company the opportunity to exploit international borders and legal jurisdictions so that they can evade civil and criminal liability for environmental pollution and abuses committed overseas,” Pallone wrote to his congressional colleagues asking for their support.
The DC rally supports the Bhopali’s six demands, including the demand the Indian government stop US-based Dow Chemical’s expansion in India until it faces charges of culpable homicide for the disaster. Supporters include members of Assoc. for India’s Development, Students for Bhopal, and chemical security advocates.
Demands of the Bhopal-Delhi marchers:
- Set up a National Commission on Bhopal (health care, research)
- Provide Safe Drinking Water (where Bhopal groundwater is contaminated)
- Prosecute Union Carbide/Dow and former Carbide CEO Warren Anderson
- Make Dow clean up and pay (for the clean-up of toxic contamination)
- Blacklist Dow and Union Carbide in India (stop sale of Dursban and halt any new plants)
- Declare a National Day of Mourning for Victims of Industrial Disasters on the Bhopal Anniversary 12/3
Pressure from the survivors has already blocked a deal between Indian Oil and Dow. Survivors seek to stop Dow from aggressively marketing its neurotoxic pesticide Dursban in India, now banned for home use in the US after the severe poisoning of several children. The survivors are also demanding clean water and medical care from the Indian Government after 21 years of death and pollution caused by Dow Chemical’s current subsidiary Union Carbide.
National and state labor unions representing Dow Chemical workers also support the Bhopal Survivors, including the New Jersey statewide PACE-United Steelworkers of America USW Local 4-149. The
International Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Worker's Union, representing 300,000 workers, unanimously passed a resolution calling for an “International Day of Action Against Corporate Crime” in support of Bhopal trade union workers and inviting its US union members to take action supporting the demands of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) against Dow Chemical Corporation for the 21st Anniversary of the Disaster.
The day before the DC rally, Pallone will hold a press conference in New Jersey, at 1 pm Thursday, March 23rd at the Dow/Carbide plant, 141 Baekeland Avenue, Piscataway, NJ, where he will identify colleagues who signed the letter. The Congressman will discuss Dow’s role in the ongoing disaster in Bhopal and request the company clean up the site and face criminal charges in India.
ATTENTION JOURNALISTS: To arrange interviews with Bhopal marchers contact Madhumita Dutta or Nishant Jain and for US based support groups contact Diana Ruiz. Video footage of the march available upon request.