BHOPAL, India -A court Monday convicted seven former senior employees of Union Carbide’s Indian subsidiary of “death by negligence” for their roles in the 1984 leak of toxic gas that killed an estimated 15,000 people in the world’s worst industrial disaster.
Survivors of the Bhopal accident, some of whom gathered in this central Indian city chanting slogans, said the light sentences — two years in prison — are too little, too late given the scale of the damage. In India’s notoriously slow justice system, the appeal process could drag on for years, even decades, while those convicted remain free on bail.
Some of you kids reading this blog weren’t even born when the Bhopal disaster happened. Well kids, I remember Bhopal, and let me tell you, it was like the BP Gulf Oil spill squared a thousand times. Because it wasn’t just birds and other animal life killed by a release of toxic gas, but people. Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of them. And it was Union Carbide’s fault, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical. Accidents happen.
But what’s really sad is that Bhopal happened 26 years ago. And yes, Indian courts may move at a glacial pace, but let’s remember that Exxon took the Valdez court case all the way to the Supreme Court. That case took 20 something years to resolve too.
So yeah, people on the Gulf Coast are screwed. And if we can take over a freaking car company than by God we can revoke BP America’s corporate charter or whatever you call it and give this corporate citizen the death sentence to make sure the people and wildlife of the Gulf don’t have to wait 26 years for their justice.