DECEMBER 3, 1984
Shortly after midnight poison gas leaked from a factory in Bhopal, India, owned by Union Carbide Corporation. There was no warning, none of the plant's safety systems were working. In the city people were sleeping. They woke in darkness to the sound of screams with the gases burning their eyes, noses and mouths. They began retching and coughing up froth streaked with blood. Whole neighbourhoods fled in panic, some were trampled, others convulsed and fell dead. People lost control of their bowels and bladders as they ran. Within hours thousands of dead bodies lay in the streets. Read a survivor's account of "that night". More background here.
BHOPAL.CON is a line by line, lie by lie dissection and refutation of Dow-Union Carbide's position on Bhopal, a vital resource for journalists, students and researchers.
Bhopal.con's critique deals solely with statements made by Dow-Union Carbide in its bhopal.com PR website, which are here reproduced verbatim.
'Facts' in Dow-Carbide's mouth often have a short life. On their website assertions and claims appear, mutate and vanish like exotic subatomic particles in a quantum froth –- of course we keep a log of the changes.
Carbide's derelict, still poisonous factory: see for yourself.
Red letter day: 27 Members of Congress insist Dow take responsibility for Bhopal
(left to right) Shana, Rachna, Rafat and Sarita meet with Congressman Frank Pallone in Washington DC, May 2009.
Washington. June 17th, 2009 -- thanks to the remarkable efforts of Bhopal supporters in the US, Dow has received a letter from US lawmakers endorsing the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal's demands that Dow meet its civil and criminal liabilities in Bhopal. It amounts to the largest contingent of elected US officials ever ranged against Dow over its criminal neglect of Bhopal.
The letter greatly increases the chance of Dow's criminality being brought into the light of a full-blown Conressional enquiry, and is testament to the effect of the mammoth, six week, coast-to-coast tour of the United States by Children against Dow-Carbide members Sarita and Rafat that ended on June 1st.
A huge congratulations and thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make the tour the success it was!
Click here for more information on the US tour.
Empowered Commission still not delivered - clean water on its way!
New Delhi. February 20th, 2009 -- Six months after the longest sustained campaign in Bhopal's history ended in ecstatic scenes on a Delhi sidewalk, the Empowered Commission solemnly promised by government officials is yet to materialise. As parliament sits in its last session before national elections, time is perilously short.
In one hugely positive development, however, authorities finally agreed to provide 14
contamination-affected communities with clean drinking water, pumped from the Kolar River. Eight communities are already
receiving clean water - some for the first time - and those remaining are promised access to water by March 2009.
On August 8th, 2008, following a punishing 500 mile walk over 38 days, a 73 day dharna in Delhi and a 60 day worldwide relay hunger strike, Bhopal survivors celebrated a historic victory in their 23 year battle for rehabilitation and a life of dignity and health when the government of India announced it would set up an Empowered Commission on Bhopal and take legal action on the criminal and civil liabilities of Union Carbide and Dow Chemical.
The victory was hard won, following on from the longest sustained campaign by survivors since Union Carbide's disaster in Bhopal.
The Bhopal padyatris completed their exhausting, epic, 38 day march to Delhi on March 28th. Read the news of their arrival . Having reached Delhi with sore feet but unflagging spirits, Bhopali survivors of Dow & Union Carbide set up camp on the pavement at Jantar Mantar, refusing to leave until Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to meet promises made two years ago concerning economic, social and medical rehabilitation, and provision of clean drinking water.
On April 16th, 11 year old contamination affected Yasmin wrote the PM a letter in blood. On April 21st, 280 eminent legal professionals declared proposals to immunise Dow against ongoing court proceedings to be both unconstitutional and illegal. On April 29th, children physically affected by water contamination - Bhopal's 'generation-next' - accused officials of criminal negligence.
On May 12th, survivors found an unlikely ally in their insistence on Dow's legal liability for Bhopal: the Indian Law Ministry. On May 21st, in frustration at his continued inaction, 40 survivors chained themselves to the PM's fence and were arrested. On June 9th, following a 'die-in' outside the PM's offices, police arrested Bhopali women and children and among those beaten was a girl of six. The next day, nine Bhopalis began an indefinite hunger strike. On June 19th, the day the 22 detained Bhopalis were finally released from Tihar jail, over 200 Indian groups castigated the PM over Bhopal. On July 1st and after 22 days without food the nine hunger strikers broke their fast and were immediately replaced by nine others, who later handed on to fasters from across the world. Five weeks later came the news of victory.
'Walk Your Talk' films
See Al Jazeera's footage of the Feb 20th send-off
A short film of the first ten days walking
Watch film of arrests at India Gate on March 29th
Hear the beaten Bhopali children speak out on June 17th
A brilliant short film on the Walk Your Talk campaign
See the Minister's announcement on August 8th
'Walk Your Talk' coverage
Major events of the 'Walk Your Talk' campaign
Hunger strike for justice and dignity: June 10-August 8
Hunger strike daily diary
Daily blog and photos from the Delhi dharna: March 28-June 10
Daily blog and photos from the march: February 20-March 28
The 2008 Padyatra: why we had to walk again
Survivors' demands to the Prime Minister
See a map of the route the 2008 padyatra took
Dow ostracised in Chennai
Chennai. February 10th, 2009 -- just days after its ignominious defeat in Pune, Dow was forced to take to its heels in Chennai too - though on this occasion literally, as company officials cravenly fled from the scene of a Bhopal protest. Shortly after, Dow officials didn't dare to address the same protestors who had high-tailed after them.
The Chennai protest comes as a new generation of Bhopalis have steeled themselves against Dow, joining the nationwide movement against Dow's plan's for wholesale expansion into India that includes resistance centred in India's premier technology institutes.
In the wake of its social ostracism from four out of seven Indian Institute's of Technology (IITs), in December 2007 Dow had its sponsorship of an international conference chucked back in its face by IIT, Delhi just a day before the event was due to start.
IIT Delhi's rejection of Dow's lucre is acutely and symbolically significant. Desperate to relocate its research, development and manufacturing to the global South, Dow needs first class engineers for its proposed ventures in Chennai, Gujarat and elsewhere in India. Without them, Dow's entire global strategy for the next few decades will be in tatters.
IIT "No to Dow" petition
IIT-D returns sponsorship of Dow for GLS-8 conference
Outcast Dow thrown out of IIT Delhi conference day before it begins
Dow Chemical's Indian R&D centre plan faces social boycott
Kids want Dow evicted from Chennai mall
Dow Shalt Pay
Villagers win historic victory over Dow's Pune mega-centre
LATEST NEWS ON THE ISSUES
News on bhopal.net is presented via a series of blogs, to make each of the many strands of the story easier to follow. Please refer to the blog archives and use the SEARCH facility to find everything on a given issue.
India's uprising against Dow
Buy a copy of the Booker Prize short listed novel and earn $1.20 for the Bhopal Medical Appeal
Find out how Dow's businesses mock India and the law
"Bhopal isn't only about charred lungs, poisoned kidneys and deformed foetuses. It's also about corporate crime, multinational skullduggery, injustice, dirty deals, medical malpractice, corruption, callousness and contempt for the poor. Nothing else explains why the victims' average compensation was just $500 - for a lifetime of misery . . . Yet the victims haven't given up. Their struggle for justice and dignity is one of the most valiant anywhere. They have unbelievable energy and hope . . . the fight has not ended. It won't, so long as our collective conscience stirs.
"Outlook India 7 Oct 2002