The storm raised in India and abroad over the trial court verdict on the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984 has deepened the crisis of credibility of the Manmohan Singh regime. From the painstaking evidence gathered by those fighting for justice for the lakhs of victims of this tragedy, it is clear as daylight that the then Rajiv Gandhi regime was more concerned about rescuing Warren Anderson and the management of Union Carbide from the wrath of the people, than about ensuring justice for the victims of the gas tragedy.
It is clear as daylight that the Congress leadership of that time was more interested in protecting the interests of foreign capital than in protecting lives or in compensating generously for the deaths and disabilities. Skeletons long hidden have come out one by one from the cupboard, exposing the role of Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao, Arjun Singh, and various top officials of the central and Madhya Pradesh government administration, both of which were under Congress Party rule at that time.
The more the leadership of the Congress party tries to shift the blame for the chain of events beginning with the world’s worst civilian disaster up till the trial court verdict, pointing fingers at specific individuals within the party or within the state administration or judiciary, the more it becomes clear that the ruling class as a whole is guilty. The ruling power including the central and state administration, the judiciary, and the Cabinet were all involved in protecting the multinational Union Carbide, and its successor, Dow Chemicals. They have protected the foreign monopoly capitalists from liabilities and from criminal charges.
The fact that subsequent governments in Madhya Pradesh, which were run by the BJP, did nothing to bring justice to the victims of the 1984 Bhopal disaster shows that the problem does not lie only in the Congress Party. The problem lies in the traitorous and narrow-minded nature of the bourgeois class and its state power, which both the Congress and BJP represent and defend. In the calculations of the traitorous bourgeoisie, the lives and wellbeing of the working people of our country do not count for much. What matters is that India should be an attractive destination for capital from all over the world. Nothing should be done to hurt the interests of the multinationals. This is what the capitalists and their politicians in parliament openly say to each other behind closed doors. However, they dare not say it publicly.
The latest move of the Manmohan Singh Government has been to set up an Empowered Group of Ministers, which has announced that it will take some legal measures to secure justice. This is a cruel fraud being perpetrated on the people. The aim of this move is certainly not justice for the victims of Bhopal. It is a desperate attempt on the part of the Congress high command and the ruling bourgeois class to save themselves from the deepening credibility crisis of their rule.
The Congress Party hopes, by grandstanding with its Empowered Group of Ministers on Bhopal, to buy time with a few palliative measures, until dust settles on Bhopal. However, the dust will not settle on Bhopal, just as it will not settle on the genocide of Sikhs, another monstrous crime committed in 1984. People will continue to fight for justice, and for punishment of the guilty.
Indian people have always held the State, the ruling Authority, to be responsible for protecting the lives and wellbeing of the people. It is said in the Mahabharata that people have the right to behead a King who threatens their lives instead of protecting them. When the Authority protects foreign interests that have committed mass murder on Indian soil, what should we, the Indian people, do? We have to consider it our right to rebel against such an Authority and get rid of it. We have to consider it our duty to create a new Authority that will deliver justice and defend the human rights of every member of Indian society, without exception.