Bhopal : Sunday will bring both sorrow and joy to the people of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh’s capital. While a large portion of the population will observe December 3 as a day of mourning and protests, it may be a day of celebration for a few others, while others may observe it as a day of celebration.
While political parties are busy counting votes in the state’s recently concluded Assembly elections, others will be remembering India’s worst industrial disaster, which occurred in the early hours of December 3, 1984, when toxic gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant, killing thousands of people.
Not only this, the leak resulted in a large number of survivors living with the lasting effects of the gas on their bodies. Even newborns were affected by it and many were born with deformities and mental and physical illnesses.
Even after decades, the victims of the gas tragedy continue to struggle for their rights and basic amenities.
On December 3, these individuals not only mourn the loss of their loved ones, but also raise their voices demanding punishment for the culprits.
On this day, the entire city of Bhopal is in mourning, as people recall the night the toxic gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant. Those who survived India’s worst industrial disaster to date tell stories that send chills down listeners’ spines.
The victims describe how the streets were strewn with bodies that night, as if leaves had fallen from a tree in autumn. Cries of those dying and the bereaved echoed in the air at the same time, as they were forced to leave their loved ones and flee the city to save their lives.
However, this year, December 3 will be a bit different for some people in Bhopal as the results of the Assembly elections will be declared.
While the losers will give vent to their frustration, the gas tragedywill no doubt make a huge celebration out of it. Discussions will revolve around the formation of a new government and plans for the future.
According to sources, the families of the Bhopal gas tragedy victims tried to get the counting date changed as December 3 is considered inauspicious, but the Election Commission did not pay heed to their pleas.
On this day, the two facets of life will be starkly visible in Bhopal and neighbouring areas. On one side, there are people who have been surrounded by adversity for years, while on the other side, there will be a faction welcoming their political victory.