For more than 27 years the Bhopal Gas Victims were being denied justice. Rachna Dhingra (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTbkYYCMtyc) made this a personal fight and has been involved in supporting the victims cause for more than a decade. In this process she organized peace rallies, campaigns, events, protests and many other activities to raise awareness and also demand justice.
Rachna Dhingra & other organizations had sent multiple requests to the state government and the district authorities to withdraw the false cases. Below is a summary of what transpired before, on and after the Dec 3 2011 protest (i’ve modified the original source with an intent to summarize)
Why was Rachna Dhingra & others protesting on Dec 3 2011?
The protest was centered on a legitimate demand:
- Carry out necessary corrections in the figures of deaths and injuries caused by Union Carbide based on figures of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and hospitals meant for gas affected people in the curative petition filed in the Supreme Court
This demand was communicated to the state government in July 2011. Letters were sent on
- 25 July 2011,
- 17 October 2011
- 19 November 2011
demanding revision in the figures of death and injury as presented in the curative petition before the Supreme Court by the state government
Likewise, we received no response to the letters we wrote to the Chief Secretary on
- 28 October 2011
- 19 November 2011
and that sent to the Principal Secretary, Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Department on 19 November 2011
2. Protect the legal rights of the gas victims: Legal right to be adequately compensated for the physical and mental injuries caused by the disaster
Advance notification of the protest action:
- Rail Roko on December 3 2011 in which thousands of gas victims took part at six places between Subash Nagar railway crossing and Nishatpura. In five out of these six places – Nishatpura, Kainchi Chhola, Chhola Naka, Berasia Road Crossing and Bharat Talkies overbridge there was no breach of peace at all. Only at one spot, Barkhedi-Aishbag railway crossing, there was violence that was initiated by District administration and police officials – there is enough proof and evidence of the same
- To ensure that protest on December 3, 2011 remained peaceful, the method of peaceful protest was highlighted to the gas victims through a video film that was screened in different communities over a period of one and a half month.
- Three weeks prior to rail roko protest Google Ads were bought and through that and through the website publicized the proposed protest action requesting potential passengers to change their journey date or route.
- Over 2,00,000 people have read our announcement and advice on the internet.
- Additionally gas victims participating in the rail roko action reached food and water to the passengers on a large scale
Had the state government responded to any of the letters in the six months or discussed the matter in the month following the announcement of rail roko, possibly there would have been no need for a rail roko.
The Violence @ one of the protest spots: The district administration and police officials are primarily responsible for the incident of violence at one out of six protest spots on December 3, 2011
- Lack of preparation on the part of district adminstration and police officials
- Taking away the PA system by the police cutting out the communication with the protestors
- the Collector gave an order of cane charging without any warning
- The city Superintendent of Police, Mrs. Monica Shukla publicly abused the women and used humiliating language against the protestors
- Following the order of cane charging a few people, in order to protect the old women and themselves, threw stones at the police. In response to this, the police resorted to stone pelting in a huge scale
- Following cane charging and stone pelting by the police, tear gas shells were burst without warning
- Policemen standing next to her handed over a piece of cloth to man who had covered his face with handkerchief and asked him to set a particular vehicle on fire
- Police entered people’s homes, beat them and caused damage to their property after the incident of violence
- The police arrested innocent people in an illegal manner
The above is not mere allegations, but there was enough evidence in the form of photographs, videos & eye witnesses.
The First Information Report (FIR) lists weapons (sticks, sharp edged weapons, country made guns, firearms) which are not seen in any of the photos or videos while the police claims that the entire incident has been videographed