The Tamil Nadu Women’s Forum has joined the Bhopal tragedy survivors by saying that the trial and verdict on 7 June 2010 has been an utter disappointment.
Seven officials of Union Carbide India Ltd were sentenced for only two years; the Bhopal survivors were betrayed. It has been a criminal negligence by the Indian Government. The Prime Minister and the Minister for Central Bureau of Investigation are to be responsible for coming out with such a verdict.
As per the verdict, the UCIL’s seven Indian officials were awarded two-year prison sentence and a paltry fine of Rs. 101,750 (about $2,100) today, while Union Carbide India Ltd (now Eveready Industries India Ltd) was fined Rs. 500,000 ($11,000). All accused are out on bail immediately for Rs. 25,000 only. Today’s verdict was in the case against only the nine Indian accused (eight individuals and UCIL) of which one of whom already died in the course of the trial.
The foreign accused – Union Carbide Corporation, Warren Anderson and Union Carbide Eastern – are absconding and the CBI has failed to take action to bring them to India to face trial. It has taken 18 years to bring the culprits to court. The Central Bureau of Investigation has failed to provide evidence that has led to the reduction of the present term of crimes of Bhopal from 10 years to two years.
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Fatima Burnad works with the Tamil Nadu Women’s Forum in Chennai