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Bhopal gas tragedy survivors cannot stomach PM's lavish dinner with Dow Chemical CEO

Bhopal: The NGOs working for survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy on Friday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "not holding Dow Chemical responsible" for the worst industrial disaster, and instead preferring to "dine" with the CEO of the US firm.

In a joint press conference in Bhopal, one of the five NGOs said the PM's action of "pleading" with Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris to invest more in India is "outrageous and disgusting" for citizens.

"Instead of making Dow Chemical obey Indian laws, the Prime Minister chose to offer a lavish dinner to its CEO Andrew Liveris during his visit to US this September," said Rashida Bee, head of Bhopal Gas Peedit Manila Stationery Karmchari Sangh.

 Bhopal gas tragedy survivors cannot stomach PMs lavish dinner with Dow Chemical CEO

Prime minister Narendra Modi. PTI

"From newspaper reports we learnt that Modijee offered thandai chicken, sevaiyan cake and other delicacies to Liveris, just nine days after the Bhopal chief judicial magistrate issued notice against his company for sheltering the fugitive killer Union Carbide," she said.

Union Carbide Corporation has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company since 2001.

Rashida said, "The Union Carbide has been absconding for last 23 years from charges of culpable homicide and other serious offences related to the toxic gas release from now-defunct Union Carbide factory on the intervening night of 2-3 December, 1984 here, that killed 25,000 people and
injured half a million others."

Balkrishna Namdeo, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogee Sangharsh Morcha, said the Bhopal district court had earlier sent two notices asking Dow Chemical to explain why it was not making Union Carbide appear in the ongoing criminal case on the disaster.

"In the photo available at the @PMO twitter handle, Liveris is seen smiling in the front row along with Prime Minister Modi. If this is not an invitation to 'Make more Bhopals in India' (then) we do not know what it is?" he said.

Nawab Khan, who heads Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, said Dow Chemical was defying the Indian justice system.

"The company is continuing to make millions of dollars as profits through its business in India and our prime minister is pleading to Liveris to invest more in the country. For us Bhopalis it is outrageous and disgusting," he added.

Satinath Sarangi, convenor of Bhopal Group for Information and Action, claimed that the notices against Dow Chemical were issued by the Bhopal district court due to intervention by his organisation and not due to persuasion by the probe agency CBI.

"Tomorrow, we will see whether the CBI helplessly watches Dow Chemical ignoring the court's order a third time, or whether it summons the courage to take effective legal action against the criminal corporation," he said.

Safreen Khan, president of Children against Dow Carbide said, "We hope our Prime Minister will instruct CBI to go hard against this criminal company that is sheltering the killer Carbide. This way he can also prove that he is not all that the chief minister of Delhi says he is".

Though Khan did not mention Arvind Kejriwal by name, he was probably referring to recent diatribe by the Delhi CM against Modi in the wake of a CBI raid on Delhi secretariat.

PTI

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Updated Date: Dec 18, 2015 22:38:42 IST