Arjun Singh blames Delhi for releasing Anderson

Hindustan Times 19 June 2010

Congress leader breaks silence on Bhopal gas tragedy, points finger at Delhi


BHOPAL: Breaking his silence the first time on the roiling controversy of former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson’s release from Bhopal, Arjun Singh said he had “no locus standi on the matter. He spoke exclusively to Hindustan Times on the phone.

When asked if he wanted to clear the controversy, Singh told HT, “I have no locus standi on this issue,” virtually lobbing the controversial ball back into then-central government’s court.

The Congress has reacted sharply to then-foreign secretary M.K. Rasgotra’s comment that the Rajiv Gandhi government had promised “safe passage”  to Anderson. Continue reading “Arjun Singh blames Delhi for releasing Anderson”

Anderson was given VVIP send-off on a state plane

Hindustan Times 11 June 2010


BHOPAL: Four days after the gas leak, an army of Indian and foreign media persons waited for Union Carbide Corporation chairman Warren Anderson outside the company’s guest house for nearly eight hours only to learn later that there any had come and gone.

Anderson had flown to Bhopal from Bombay by an Indian Airlines flight to avoid public attention that a  company jet would have attracted.

He was accompanied by UCIL chairman Keshub Mahindra and managing director V.P. Gokhale.

Bhopal’s District Magistrate Moti SinghSP Swaraj Puri and a posse of policemen met them on the tarmac beside an official Ambassador  car waiting for the Carbide bosses. Followed by Singh and Puri in another car, Anderson and his colleagues were taken to the Carbide guest house.

An officer, who was part of the operation, said the team spent anxious moments at the back-gate as the lock refused to open. So, several policemen lifted the entire six-foot-high gate from its hinges to make way for Anderson’s car. Continue reading “Anderson was given VVIP send-off on a state plane”

‘For several nights I’d weep as I typed’

Hindustan Times 8 June 2010

That cold December night of 1984 will be etched in my memory forever. I was fast asleep under a warm quilt in Bhopal when the phone rang.

My friend RaajumarKeswani, a journalist, living in the old quarters of the town, sounded agitated, a little incoherent and was gasping for breath and coughing.

He said there was a commotion in the street, people were running around and something had happened. “I am having a problem breathing,” he said.

I came out of my house and was greeted by a bizarre sight. It was almost 1 in the night but the normally deserted road was jam-packed with people as far as my eyes could see.

They were walking silently, visibly tired, some of them carrying children in their arms, others supporting older people. Many lay on the footpath. Quite a few were very ill and vomiting. Several others were trying to stop vehicles, already overloaded with people.

I asked a person: what happened?”

“The gas tank in Union Carbide has burst,” was the reply. Continue reading “‘For several nights I’d weep as I typed’”

You are reading here the first rough draft of history

Front page banner headline of Indian Express, December 4, 1984

Poison gas claims 408 lives in Bhopal

Leak from pesticide plant affects 20,000


BHOPAL, Dec 3.

The capital city of Madhya Pradesh turned into a deadly gas chamber in the early hours of Monday.

 About 500 people, most of them children, were feared killed by a poisonous gas, which leaked from the local pesticide manufacturing plant of Union Carbide.

According to official sources, 408 bodies had already reached the morgue of the local Medical College Hospital. “This is not the final fi­gure,” sources said.

(According to PTI over 20,000 inhabitants, affected by the worst-ever environmental disaster in the country, were undergoing treatments in various hospitals here.)

As the rescue operation was progressing in the affected localities, many more bodies were being brought in by trucks and other vehicles. Several people took bodies directly to the cremation and burial grounds.

This correspondent, who undertook a tour of the affected localities on Monday morning, saw scores of bodies on the roadside and other public places. Hundreds of cattle also perished in the worst tragedy of Madhya Pradesh.

Several people died in sleep. Their bodies were still in their homes on Monday evening. Continue reading “You are reading here the first rough draft of history”