CPI-M urges not to succumb to US pressure on n-bill

New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Thursday asked the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government not to ‘succumb to US pressures to enact the civil nuclear liability bill’ in the wake of the ‘injustice’ done in the Bhopal gas tragedy verdict.

Urging the government to ‘withdraw the civil nuclear liability bill that it had so hurriedly introduced in parliament under US pressure’, the CPI-M said: ‘Under the bill, the maximum compensation required to be paid by the supplier is a mere Rs.500 crore.’

‘This could be increased to Rs.2,100 crore when the liability is transferred to the government,’ the party said in its organ People’s Democracy’s latest issue.

It said that in the case of a nuclear accident, the casualties would run into much higher figures and the damage caused would be infinitely severe.

‘Yet, this bill caps the liability to less than what even the Union Carbide was forced to pay for the Bhopal disaster. Clearly, this bill must be resoundingly rejected in the light of this experience,’ the CPI-M said.

‘This UPA-2 government, despite its proclivities, must not be allowed to succumb to US pressures to enact the civil nuclear liability bill,’ it said.

The CPI-M criticised the verdict on the world’s greatest industrial disaster in Bhopal in 1984.

‘This has been universally decried as both justice delayed and justice denied. In fact, the verdict is worse. It is plain injustice, indeed, criminal injustice!’ it said about the mere two years’ imprisonment awarded to eight Indian executives (of whom one is now dead) of Union Carbide, and absconding US citizen Warren Anderson, who was the chairman of the Union Carbide then.

The local court Monday also fined them about Rs.one lakh each and Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL), Rs.five lakh. Those convicted were immediately freed on a personal bond of Rs.25,000 each.

The CPI-M asked the government to demand Anderson’s extradition and subject him to a speedy trial.

‘The government must do the necessary – either appeal against this verdict or initiate a fresh process in the apex court to ensure that proper justice is delivered to the victims. It must also bring to book those whose complicity aided the delay in and denial of justice, while it must take steps to strengthen the laws that would ensure a fair and speedy delivery of justice in the future,’ it said.

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