Dharna 2010

Currently, hundreds of Bhopali activists are braving the monsoon season in Delhi to demand compensation, medical care, legal action, and site remediation. Hundreds more are expected to join the dharna (sit-in) until their demands are met. We'll be posting the latest news on their progress here.

Day 10

  • Posted on: 5 August 2010
  • By: SfB.Website
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Dharna Blog

Day 10: 4.08.2010

Today we went about the laborious process of reassembling Sana's documents, lost as they were when the police raided the dharna sthal on August 2. This took all day, with the help of Arun Paswan, an aide of Ram Vilas Paswan, and involved much standing in interminable queues of people all seeking medical attention at AIIMS. There was much pushing and shoving, some elbowing, anxious patients with bandaged body parts trying to avoid re-injuring themselves, patients groaning on stretchers that cut a glacially slow path between the solid walls of people standing back to back in knots around each door in the hallways. Sakina and Sana were both delightful, assertive, and funny, taking the edge off the day's endless waiting, for re-filling forms, re-diagnosing Sana, and trying to get her an appointment for surgery that wouldn't give her throat tumor three more years to go. Sana smiled broadly through the day, croaking jokes in her wheezing, barely preserved voice, clambering around her mother as she talked. Sakina dresses Sana in boys' clothes, and with a refreshing simplicity, she says she prefers the way Sana looks in boys clothes, and the way it enables her to play around and not feel shy around boys. In this and other ways she's an interesting and spirited woman, completely committed to getting her children treated and educated, but strongly motivated to keep life upbeat and full in the midst of the sickness inflicted upon her family.

Day 9

  • Posted on: 5 August 2010
  • By: SfB.Website
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Dharna Blog

Day 9: 3.08.10

The oppressive humidity of the last few days was offset today by a cool breeze, making the Bhopal dharna sthal positively enjoyable today. Much exchanging of notes about losses, bruises and confusion from our eviction by the police last night took place.

BJP party workers came over again to sit with our dharna people, however, making an effort to compensate for their past behavior. Meanwhile the BJP sthal stands nearby day & night, with polished glossy billboards and posters. I sauntered over to get a better look, and found a set of disturbing photos of piles of bodies left over after the disaster, with poetry overwritten in both Hindi and English. Another set of posters were photographs of newspaper headlines highlighting the inefficiency of the Congress. The effect was one of a profoundly disturbing, and exploitative experience, with the limited political message that the Congress Party was to blame. One particular picture, of a half naked woman splayed out on the floor, with her naked son next to her, was particularly disturbing - given that each photo in that exhibit was selected for effect, I wonder what the BJP party workers who decided to include that were thinking. Whether they thought that the helplessness of the woman to cover herself and her child as they perished due to the gas would come through. Whether they wondered if they, the BJP, guardians of morality, were being exploitative of this woman who couldn't view her naked photo and object now that Union Carbide had killed her. Whether they thought that shock value at naked bodies would heighten the reaction of shock the rest of the pictures of piles of bodies and cattle were also calculated to induce. How they planned the overlying poems to induce rage, only for that rage to safely transfer into faith in the BJP and disillusionment with the Congress.

Dharna Documents

  • Posted on: 3 August 2010
  • By: SfB.Website
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