Remembering the Bhopal gas victims

REMEMBERING the victims of the Bhopal toxic gas incident (Dec 3,1984), the world’s worst industrial accident so far, one cannot but remain stunned on the apathetic behaviour of the government of India.
While tens of thousands of poor people were killed in a flash, the government didn’t show a single gesture of sharing their pain.
The criminal industrialist who owns the infamous industry is still at large, living in America a peaceful life while the poor victims still await justice.
The government doesn’t prosecute him or other people related to him only because they don’t want the in ternational investor to be fearful of such prosecution. This behaviour has certain interesting implications.
First, it’s the poor of a country who make the country itself.
They bear all the bad effects of economic crises, law and order situations, health and education deprivation and even wars.
It is the poor who bear all the burden of taxes eventually as they are the end-consumer of many of the products. Industrialists merely transfer any increase in taxes to the prices and stay calm.
By securing the lives and improving the living status of the poor of a country, one can make the aliens (here non-resident Indian investors) realise that there is rule of law in the country.
Anyone who would be interested in making money out of the country will have to follow certain regulations and will be answerable before the court of law if he ever posed a problem to the people of the country.
Yet the message goes the other way. An investor is allowed to make money from the world’s largest democratic nation even if he has to sacrifice a few thousand poor of the country.
And what is the benefit of non-prosecution? The benefit is that although some of them (read the poor) died, yet the rich lot of Mumbai, sitting in the furnished lodges looking at their flat screen television sets and getting amused by the bollywood and hollywood productions, could spend their part of lives peacefully.
I mean if an investor is begged to come to a country for getting the capital and maintaining the growth rate high and he is given the licence to kill the people, who else is there to blame to?
The same goes for the future policies. They didn’t set an example of the culprit and that means everyone who promises to bring money for the rich is free to operate.
Who cares if he or she brings death to the poor?
A country where justice is not established as the supreme law goes into ruins and any level of industrialisation remains unable to save it.
Take the example of America and try to learn from it.
If the ordinary citizen of the country will feel good, it will bring much more stability than what brings the capital.
In the world’s largest democracy, there is one Arundhati Roy who speaks of justice for the poor.
Can the government prove to be the world’s largest democracy which cares for their poor?
Or at least for those who were unfortunate enough to survive the toxic gas, just to remain crippled, waiting for the justice to be delivered from the capitalist rich.

Published in DAWN on 08-12-2009.

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