Tag Archives: bhopal judgment

From Union Carbide to Exxon to BP: What Bhopal Started

By P. Sainath
CounterPunch

Bhopal marked the horrific beginning of a new era. One that signalled the collapse of restraint on corporate power.  The ongoing BP spill in the Mexican Gulf  —  with estimates ranging from 30,000  to 80,000 barrels per day  —  tops off a quarter of a century where corporations could  (and have) done anything in the pursuit of profit, at any human cost. Barack Obama’s ‘hard words’ on BP are mostly pre-November poll-rants. BP can take a lot of comfort  from two US Supreme Court judgements in the past two years.

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Bhopal and the BP Spill: A Tale of Two Disasters

By Madhur Singh
Time Magazine

As BP struggles to contain the damage the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has caused to the Gulf of Mexico and to the people whose livelihoods depend on its waters, a legal judgment in the worst industrial catastrophe in history highlights how wrong the aftermath of such disasters can go ­– not just in terms of a cleanup but in the matter of justice. It is a terrifying lesson in how a corporation can evade full responsibility for one of the most heinous accidents in human history.

On Monday, more than 25 years after 40 tons of highly toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) was released from a Union Carbide plant in the central Indian city of Bhopal ­ killing thousands in a matter of hours and over years, rendering hundreds of thousands seriously ill and causing genetic defects in yet-to-be-born generations ­ a local court announced its verdict. It held eight former employees of Union Carbide India Ltd guilty of criminal negligence and sentenced seven of them to two years in prison and a fine of $2,100. (The eighth defendant died during the course of the 23-year trial.) The convicted former employees were out on bail ­ of just $500 each ­ in less than two hours. Union Carbide India, which no longer exists, was fined less than $11,000. (See the legacy of the Bhopal disaster.)

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