Arch. of Bhopal: A tragedy forgotten, but not yet over

2011-12-03 Vatican Radio

“The people who really should have got help did not receive it, of those who received it, they did not receive enough”, says Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal, India, on the 27th anniversary of the worlds worst industrial accident. “The Church has done a lot and continues to do as much as it can but that is very little in itself. The Government is politicising this tragedy and the fight goes on, every year there are strikes and protests, but it is politicised. Justice is not being done to the real victims”. On Saturday, thousands of survivors blocked trains through a central Indian city today to demand more compensation. The protest marked the anniversary of the disaster in Bhopal, where a Union Carbide pesticide plant leaked lethal gas that killed an estimated 15,000 people and maimed tens of thousands more. Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal says that 27 years on the people are still waiting for justice to be done: “I say once and for all let justice be done. Let’s stop accusing everybody, they accuse foreign people, they accuse the company [Dow Chemicals – ed]. The company has given some help, but where does that help go? That is the question. Who is benefiting from it? And the longer it drags the more politically the leaders benefit” A committee has to be set up that should look more deeply into this matter and see where justice needs to be done and make proposals. They make committees for all kinds of things but not for this, there has been no real effort, Bhopal has been forgotten but it is not yet over”. Vowing to block trains indefinitely, the five Bhopal victims' rights groups that organized the protest demanded that Dow Chemicals, which bought Union Carbide in 2001, pay $8.1 billion in compensation for more than 500,000 people exposed to the leak. Listen to Emer McCarthy’s full interview with Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal: 00:16:35:50