Rajiv Gandhi’s Union Carbide Connection

Union Carbide is a subsidiary of Dow Chemicals.

By Dinkar Kamani

The media is playing dumb again pretending not to know who allowed the Union Carbide boss in India, Warren Anderson to get away after a lethal gas, methyl isocyanate leaked from the company’s factory in Bhopal in 1984 killing over 3,500 people, maiming another 15,000-odd and killing them thereafter.
Frankly, when I heard it myself, I was left thinking, surprisingly, I wasn’t taken aback. But I suddenly lost respect for a man, probably the only Congressman I held in high-esteem. His name is Rajiv Gandhi.
The facts were already out. In 1984, there was a Congress government in Madhya Pradesh headed by perhaps the most trusted and senior member of the Congress party – Arjun Singh.
For days on end, the media has anguished over the name of the person who could have ordered Arjun Singh to fly Anderson in the chief ministerial plane to Delhi. The man is none other than Rajiv Gandhi, who was then, prime minister of India — a person I had immense respect and admiration for.
It is a wonder that the electronic media-men (and women), who make it their business to poke and gnaw various panelists by asking them the most inopportune questions, have failed to grasp a few facts that require only the application of one’s common sense.
This common sense will prevail the moment one looks at simple facts. Firstly, that Bhopal was under the jurisdiction of the Congress chief minister at the time – Arjun Singh. Secondly, that it is but obvious that it could only have been the chief minister who could have put Anderson in his private plane and have him flown to Delhi. Thirdly, that Arjun Singh could not have acted of his own accord without the consent of his boss in Delhi – prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Lastly, it is highly unlikely that Anderson could have flown from Delhi to New York without the express approval of the prime minister himself. Let us believe for a moment, that Rajiv Gandhi did not want Anderson to escape. If so, why wasn’t Anderson detained when he landed in Delhi? It is not cryptic, however, that these facts escaped one of the more loquacious news channel anchors who has a foul habit of cutting off his panelist mid-sentence.
It is not surprising that sycophantic Congressmen who have always towed the line of dynastic accession to the Congress throne, will never speak out against their demigods – the Gandhis, hoping that they will receive a few crumbs from their table, ever more so now, because the former prime minister’s widow presides over the Congress party, and his son is being groomed to take the prime minister’s job in the not-so-distant-future.
Finally, the the media also failed to ask inconvenient questions to the Congress regarding compensation handed out to the victims of the tragedy. The original compensation sought was $3.5 billion, but only $450 million was given as settlement. This is clearly a failure on part of both the central and state governments. Even as of today, 26 years after the terrible tragedy, $350 million still remains to be distributed to the victims of what can easily be called the world’s biggest industrial accident to date. Why has this not been done?
But what will go down in the annals of history is the fact that in the aftermath of the Bhopal gas tragedy, it was prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and the Congress government, who allowed Union Carbide and it’s chief to get away with what I would call a grave crime against innocent Indians. Mistakes were made, no doubt, but no attempts were made to correct those mistakes. And the Indian media has chosen to ignore facts yet again for a purpose which does not demand significant application of reasoning to fathom.
[Written with the help of the article “For them Rajiv could do no wrong” by Virendra Kapoor, Inside Story, Afternoon Despatch and Courier, Monday, June 14, 2010.]
Also Read: Taking Sides

21 Responses to “Rajiv Gandhi’s Union Carbide Connection”

  1. 1 Sam
    June 15, 2010 at 12:43

    Bhopal Gas Tragedy’s aftermath has been really devastating. And it’s for everyone to see with their naked eyes. Innocent people have been suffering from grave abnormalities which has caused them a tremendous mental trauma beyond any repair and certainly beyond any compensation. Several thousands who succumbed to this deadly industrial disaster till date, has been easily forgotten by the ruling Congress government then and now!

    Where is the son of former slained Prime Minister without whose marching orders, Anderson would have been hanged to death for committing a mass murder just as Chernobyl disaster killing people like rabid dogs.

    It is true that Rajiv Gandhi was a pioneer in bringing the world to India with his FDI policies. It is perhaps true that he was instrumental in bringing the telecom revolution that changed the landscape of our country.

    But the man created a fatal mistake which was deliberate. There is no disputing this fact. Media played a dead possum when this man made calamity took place. Anderson was no saint either. He had no moral conscience to accept the guilt on his part that could have avoided this sordid tale that never seems to fade. It was then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, who became a protector of that person who claimed thousands of innocent lives.

    When I saw the news footage of the after math of MIC Gas Tragedy that was leaked from the Union Carbide, I was shocked to see the degenerated bodies of people who are still breathing that toxic gas. I am appalled at the lack of sensitivity towards those who are suffering even now! What’s the point of elections when the very same candidates show political apathy towards their voters.

    It is widely believed that former Prime Minister and Anderson had a family relations which made him facilitate the smooth, speedy transportation of Anderson back to the USA. He is now in safe haven.

    Welcome to the politics of ignorance, convenience and opportunism! Ruling party has won that hands down. I am surprised why opposition remained quiet instead of raising hues and cry over this unpardonable incident?????? I am baffled. I am outraged. I am disappointed. Sadly, Law of the country is just a tool in the hands of some influential politicians who cracks their whip whenever they feel like!

    And there is a slogan from the campaign of Tata Tea – ‘Jaago India Jaago’. I am sure that idea was conceived with an inspiration from Anderson. The Prime Minister and then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh uttered ‘Bhaago Anderson Bhaago’!


  2. 2 sanket
    June 16, 2010 at 03:35

    We don’t live in a democracy. We live in a Capitalistocracy (this may be the name of the FP’s second album…do not plagiarize). Here is some essential watching. Do not the fuck miss it. I have it…i’ll burn these on a CD for you when i come by with your bass.

    The Corporation
    Capitalism – a love story
    Food Inc

    this is the same motherfucking story in EVERY so called democracy in the world. Socialism is dead…because it will not fill coffers. without socialism, democracy is a fucking joke.


    • June 16, 2010 at 11:49

      It’s not about capitalism or socialism or democracy. The question here is about correcting a mistake. Gas leaked – accident; people died – inevitable; course of action – give them every possible help, medical, monetary whatever. Face the music. Union Carbide and the Government of India failed to do that. They didn’t want to clean up the mess and face the music. The accident is not the crime, the failure to take evasive action after the accident, is the crime.


  3. June 16, 2010 at 05:39

    I was compelled to write this:

    Rajiv was a humble human being unlike his mother and brother and although it is possible that things happened on Rajiv Gandhi’s directions, I would give him the benefit of doubt for the following reasons:-

    a. Rajiv was relatively new to politics. Whether he was in a state-of-mind to make decisions on his own could be a point of speculation because he had just undergone a terrible personal tragedy – his mother’s assassination. He was sworn-in barely a day after Indira Gandhi passed away. There was little time for personal mourning and recuperation.

    b. Rajiv could not have acted alone. The Congress top-brass would have definitely advised and directed him. Rajiv could have been under pressure from other Congressmen to allow Anderson to flee. They would only do this if Union Carbide had promised to pay them a hefty packet and this could probably explain where the remainder of the compensation amount went.

    c. Rajiv was made a scapegoat and although not acting alone (possibly even against his conscience), since the moral responsibility rested with him being prime minister, there is every likelihood that guilty Congressmen would lay the blame on a person who is not alive to defend himself.


  4. 5 Sushant
    June 16, 2010 at 06:11

    Obviously the Congress party stuffed money up the media’s arse to make them keep shut.


  5. 7 Nivedita
    June 16, 2010 at 08:49

    Dinkar, do you support any political party?


  6. 11 Malu_Pan
    June 16, 2010 at 09:06

    The jinxed Gandhi family will not be able to escape its fate. Rajiv was responsible for the murder of countless Sikhs. His assasination was necessary. Thanks to LTTE.


    • 12 Kala Jamun
      June 16, 2010 at 13:00

      Neither will you live forever. Especially because you’re responsible for this ridiculous comment. It’ll be great if you die in a terrorist attack, killed by a loud bomb. We’ll thank Lashkar E Taiba.


  7. 13 anirudh
    June 16, 2010 at 13:05

    wat shud rajiv hv done can sumbuddy plz temme???????


  8. 17 Nuclear Girl Thing
    June 17, 2010 at 07:15

    Braiding, extensions, dreads 😀 Prime Minister of Jamaica 😀


  9. 18 Pulkit S
    June 17, 2010 at 07:20

    The sad part is that the media is still pretending to cover the issue. They want us to “forget about the congress and think about what can be done for the victims”

    Good morning, people! Woke up after sunset…..


  10. June 20, 2010 at 17:28

    hey whats your myspace page.


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