Indian state gov't to appeal against 1984 Bhopal gas disaster verdict

21:35, June 09, 2010      

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Victims of the Indian Bhopal gas disaster protesting outside the court on June 7, 2010. (File Photo)

India's central Madhya Pradesh state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Wednesday that his government will move the High Court and appeal against a lower court's verdict in the 1984 Bhopal gas leak tragedy case.

"The people of Bhopal felt betrayed by the lower court's order," Chouhan said.

"The much awaited verdict in the Bhopal gas tragedy case is disappointing. Victims can appeal for an increase in the quantum of punishment. Since people of Bhopal are victims in this case and they are represented by the state government, we have decided to file an appeal to get justice for the victims and to increase the sentence of the convicts," he said.

Chouhan announced his government had set up a five-member committee to study the lower court's judgment.

The Committee would give its first report on it in 10 days and final report in a month.

"The Madhya Pradesh government had kept quiet till now as the Central Bureau of Investigation was handling the case and the Union government was involved," he said.

"But since justice has not been given to the Bhopal gas victims, the state government is taking up the case. Focus will be on how to get justice and compensation for the victims," he added.

The lower court found the Indian unit of U.S. chemicals firm Union Carbide guilty of negligence and sentenced seven Indian former employees to two years in jail over one of the world's worst industrial accidents that killed thousands in 1984.

The seven accused were immediately bailed out.

The verdict has sparked countrywide outrage that Warren Anderson, who jumped bail to escape to the United States, has gotten away unscathed.

The former CEO of Union Carbide, who was arrested on Dec. 7, 1984, spent just over three hours in detention before being released by the Indian authorities.

Source: Xinhua


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