Twenty – six years after the Orwellian apocalyptic year of the terrible industrial disaster known as the Bhopal Gas Tragedy , a court on the 7th of June convicted former Union Carbide India Chairman Keshub Mahindra and seven others in the case and awarded them a maximum of two years imprisonment. In the early hours of December 3, 1984, around 40 metric tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked into the atmosphere and was carried by wind to surrounding slums killing, the government says around 3,500 while Rights activists claim that 25,000 people have died so far, and left an unspecified number challenged with diseases and deformity.
The seven Indian Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL) officials convicted in the 26-year-old Bhopal gas tragedy case have been granted bail and released on submission of a surety of Rs 25,000 by a trial court in Bhopal. Legal experts have alleged that there was an attempt to cover up the case. It took the CBI three long years to file a charge sheet that many believed was weak. Then in 1996 the charges were watered down making all sections carry the maximum punishment of 2 years. Legal experts have alleged that there was an attempt to cover up the case.
The charges were also all bailable enabling the prime accused in the case - former Union Carbide Chairman Warren Anderson to be absolved of liabilities. All the convicts applied for bail immediately after the sentencing and were granted relief in the case, the judgment of which comes against the backdrop of a debate on the Civil Nuclear Liability bill, which would provide for limited compensation to victims in case of a nuclear disaster.
With this the postcolonial agenda seems to be an incomplete mission of imperialism where the sovereignty of the people has been bartered to protect, and consolidate the interests of multinational corporations in the name of multilateral global cooperation. One often wonders whether the democratic structure of this country has turned against its own people!