Posts Tagged ‘dinkar kamani


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

Taking Sides

By Dinkar Kamani

The Indian media ignored the boycott faced by India’s Transport Minister in Canada recently. Why?

It is funny that my last two blog posts should feature Kamal Nath back-to-back. Anyway…

The Union minister for Road Transport and Highways, Kamal Nath, visited Canada in the last week of March to woo Canadian investment for Indian infrastructure. During his visit, Nath was scheduled to meet Canadian trade and transport ministers and other high-ranking Canadian officials and business people. It’s nice to see that India is looking at countries far better than China in terms of quality, for infrastructure development.

This visit may not have been very significant — just another offical visit by an Indian minister to a foreign country — but the matter is more pointed than what appears on the surface. Kamal Nath faced a boycott by none other than Robert Oliphant, Canadian MP and co-chair of the Canada-India forum of MPs. He was quoted saying that he did not choose to attend a reception for the Indian minister the moment he learnt about Nath’s involvement in the anti-Sikh violence in 1984 — citing the man’s questionable character. This is noteworthy because Canada has a large Sikh diaspora.

Kamal Nath in Canada (Courtesy:AP)

Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party, which controls two provinces in the country, issued a press release: ‘The New Democratic Party of Canada is concerned that a divisive and controversial Indian politician, Kamal Nath, has been invited to Canada… Out of respect for the Canadian Sikh community, I am urging my caucus not to attend events featuring Kamal Nath’.

What is also significant is the fact that this boycott of a high-ranking senior member of the Congress party went completely unreported in the Indian media save the exception of one weekly publication — Open Magazine which carried an extensive report in its 3-9 April issue.

How come the usually frenzied and sensation-hungry electronic media never carried even a fleeting report about this incident? The answer is quite simple. Obviously, the Congress party is keeping it’s media poodles well greased and happy so that they conveniently ignore stories about their mentors, but when someone like Narendra Modi so much as twitches, his spasms create ripples throughout the very same media circles — Modi is likened to Hitler, but Congressmen are not labelled the SS — it’s clear which side they’re on.

There is no doubt that the reporting would lead to questions about the ruling Congress party which wouldn’t want it’s name dragged in the mire for being communal, an allegation which it is quick to point at other parties. The secular trumpet-blowing would naturally be seen as contradictory to it’s image as a profane and unifying national party.

The Gujarat Chief Minister has gone through a much hyped SIT gruelling, but why is there no action on Kamal Nath? The inference is simple — he is a member of the so-called ’secular’ Congress party — the self-proclaimed flag-bearers of the new and young India.

Owing to a large and growing Muslim vote bank, we constantly hear the hypocritical rhetoric of the Congress and its media clowns about ‘justice for Muslims’ — “the minority community” — but what about justice for the angst suffered by the Sikh community?

What is poignant and ironic though, is the fact that this county has a Sikh Prime Minister heading a cabinet which has a senior member who was part of a mob that set ablaze two Sikhs at the Rakabganj Gurudwara in New Delhi during the anti-Sikh riots in 1984.

(Based on: The Media That Looks Away by Hartosh Singh Bal, Open Magazine, print edition 3-9 April 2010).

Article link

8.4.2010  Just in: Kamal Nath to be tried in a US court.

“In the civil claim filed under the Alien Torts Claim Act, the petitioners sought compensatory and punitive damages for several allegations including crimes against humanity, degrading treatment and wrongful killing.”

Addendum: For Kamal Nath’s role in the ‘84 riots, the Congress might well say ‘it was way back in ‘84… why dig up old issues now?’, yes, as long as a Congressman is involved it’s all fine, but Modi’s alleged role in the Gujarat riots will become an election issue with the Congress for time immemorial.

Kamal Nath has already gone into defensive mode as he says: “I really have no clue about it… Nobody has ever charged me in India. But if the US charges me 25 years later for something that has happened in India… it just reflects on the authenticity.”

There’s a lot to be read between the lines.

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