The Congress bosses, especially Arjun Singh, have a lot to answer for the aftermath of the Bhopal tragedy in 1984. The government not only failed to prosecute all those responsible for the accident but also failed to force Union Carbide and its successor from cleaning up the site.
Union Minister of Finance Pranab Mukherji’s statement on June 12 that Union Carbide Chairman Warren Anderson was let off because of law and order problems in Bhopal comes of not just as a very weak excuse but confirmation of the government’s culpability. If there were threats to Mr. Anderson, the accused could easily have been moved to any place outside Bhopal.
The role of Mr. Arjun Singh, then the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, in speeding up the bail and transportation out of Bhopal for Mr. Anderson is evident. What is not known for sure is who from the Centre had directed him to do so. As Chief Minister and later as the member of Union Government’s committee that dealt with the tragedy, Mr. Singh failed to stand by the victims of the man-made disaster.
Mr. Mukheriji’s statement that the government would appeal against the court verdict in Bhopal case is intended to hoodwink the public. An appeal can serve little when the prosecution case was not presented strongly in the trial court.
The government breached the trust of the people in the Bhopal case after enacting law that made the government the sole trustee of victims in legal proceedings. It should not be allowed to go ahead with the Nuclear Liability Bill which would cause much more injustice if a nuclear accident occurs.