‘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’”

यहाँ आप पढ़ रहे हैं भोपाल गैस कांड के इतिहास का पहला ड्राफ्ट

Jansatta 4 December 1984

जहरीली गैस से ५०० का दम घुटा 

भोपाल में यूनियन कार्बाइड कारखाना ज्वालामुखी बना

नरेन्द्र कुमार सिंह

भोपाल, 3 दिसम्बर (जनसत्ता)

मध्यप्रदेश की राजधानी आज सुबह गैस चैम्बर बन गयी. निजी क्षेत्र के यूनियन कार्बाइड कारखाने से जहरीली गैस के रिसाव से ५०० लोगों का दम घुट गया. हजारों लोग गंभीर रूप से बीमार हो गए हैं.

मुख्यमंत्री अर्जुन सिंह ने शाम संवाददाताओं को बताया कि स्थानीय मेडिकल कॉलेज के मुर्दाघर में ३८० शव पहुंचाए गए हैं. रहत और बचाव कार्य तेजी से शुरू कर दिया गया है.

अस्पतालों में भारती सैकड़ों मरीजों की हालत नाजुक बताई गयी है. रात देर तक ट्रक और दूसरे वाहनों से लाशें मुर्दाघर पहुंचाई जा रही थी. मरने वालों की तादाद बढ़ने का अंदेशा है.

कारखाने से मिथाइल आइसोसाईनेट नामक अत्यंत जहरीली गैस का रिसाव कल आधी रात के लगभग शुरू हुआ. लेकिन कारखाने के सूत्रों का दावा है कि रिसाव १.४० बजे रोक दिया गया.

‘जनसत्ता’ प्रतिनिधि ने प्रभावित क्षेत्रों का दोपहर में दौरा किया. सड़क किनारे लाशों के ढेर पड़े थे और करुण चीख-पुकार मची हुई थी.

मरने वालों में ज्यादातर बच्चे थे जो सोते में दम घुटने से मरे. शाम तक लाशें घरों में पड़ी थीं.

छोला श्मशान घाट पर जलने के लिए इंतनी लाशें पहुंची कि वहां लकड़ियाँ ख़त्म गयी. दूसरे श्मशान घाटों पर भी यही हालत है. Continue reading “यहाँ आप पढ़ रहे हैं भोपाल गैस कांड के इतिहास का पहला ड्राफ्ट”

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”