Victims Of The “World’s Worst Industrial Disaster” Continue To Wait For Justice
The man and the company behind the death of 20,000 people continue to avoid the authorities, 25 years after the crime.
An Indian court issued another warrant against, Warren Anderson this week. Anderson was in charge of Union Carbide Corp, a chemical plant in Bhopal, India when the world’s biggest industrial disaster occurred. On December 3, 1984 a massive gas explosion caused by the factory injured hundreds of thousands of people and left a permanent toxic scar in the region.
Union Carbide got away with committing the crime in every possible way: by avoiding the courts of India; changing its management; selling its assets to Dow Chemical Co. and by allowing Anderson to flee the country in a private jet right after the tragedy.
According to Greenpeace International, Warren is alive and well in New York:
Warren Anderson, Union Carbide CEO at the time of the world’s worst industrial disaster in Bhopal, India, lives a life of luxury in New York State. Anderson has been hiding in the US since an explosion at his company’s plant in Bhopal caused the immediate deaths of thousands of people and led to life long suffering for almost 120,000 survivors. He is wanted in India to face charges of culpable homicide over the deaths of 20,000 people since the disaster.
As the Union Carbide boss, Anderson knew about a 1982 safety audit of the Bhopal plant, which identified 30 major hazards. Rather than fix them in Bhopal, only the company’s identical plant in the US was fixed. Neglecting these hazards in Bhopal caused the deadly explosion. Anderson flew to India after the disaster but to the company’s surprise, police investigating the disaster immediately arrested him. He subsequently jumped bail and was flow by private jet back to the US, never to return to India.
Advocates for the 556,000 people that were injured and the 20,000 that were killed, including scores of children, have fought for 25 years to bring the culpable parties to justice, including Anderson himself.
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In 1986, India charged Anderson for manslaughter, but was unable to bring him to justice. After he escaped India to return to the U.S., he has never set foot in that country again.
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Despite being wanted in India and by Interpol, Indian and US authorities have been inactive for the last 18 years. US authorities claimed they could not find Anderson and India has not pursued his extradition from the US for fear of damaging US investment and trade. However last year with the help of a UK newspaper we tracked him down to a luxury home in Long Island, New York. Life as a corporate criminal in the states is hardly difficult – Anderson’s yearly golf club membership alone is 3-4 times the average compensation for a Bhopal survivor.
Members of U.S. Congress have written letters to Dow Chemical asking them to cooperate with Indian authorities, as well as to do the clean up of the site, which is still toxic and continues to contaminate the city’s water supply. They also want Dow to pay the monetary damages due to the people of Bhopal, a request the multi-million dollar company has evaded.
Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey issued this statement in June:
“The death toll continues to rise and the suffering continues because the effects of the chemical exposure are so insidious. Another 15,000 people have been lost to the long-term and fatal effects of the poisons they were exposed to, a death toll that will continue to grow. And the harm extends to another 150,000 people who suffer from illness and infirmity.”
“Dow Chemical has yet to be brought to justice and the victims are yet to see justice done… Bhopal is widely regarded as the worst industrial disaster in history, so it carries a legacy with implications for the safety of chemical plants, the impact of globalization and the basic human rights of workers throughout the world.”
Advocates for the victims are calling for added pressure to extradite Anderson and get the company to do the responsible thing. The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal is not going to give up.
“The water contamination left by Union Carbide has poisoned two generations in Bhopal, and Union Carbide’s owner Dow Chemical Company is responsible for cleaning up the contamination. 25 years is too long to wait for justice or clean water,” the organization said in a statement.
Video About the Bhopal Gas Tragedy: