Police cane charge Bhopal gas tragedy victims

Observance of the 27th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster took an ugly turn today with police cane charging protesters who staged a rail roko.

Updated: Dec 03, 2011, 21:26 PM IST

Bhopal: Observance of 27th anniversary of
Bhopal gas disaster was marred by violence today as police
fired in the air and lobbed teargas shells to disperse
protesters indulging in arson and blocking trains to press for
more compensation for survivors of the world`s worst
industrial disaster.
Police fired several rounds in air, burst tear gas shells
and cane-charged those who torched vehicles and stone-pelting,
which disrupted rail traffic on busy Delhi-Chennai route for
over five hours, district Collector Nikunj Shrivastava told

Four police jeeps and a dozen motorcycles were set on
fire during the agitation, police said. A police jeep and an
OB van of a TV news channel were damaged in stone pelting.

According to police, stone-pelting began when agitators
squatting on the tracks at Barkhedi-Aishbagh and Chhola Road
railway crossings were asked to leave by them.

Over a dozen government officials, including Collector
Shrivastava, SSP Yogesh Choudhry, CSP H N Guru and some women
were among those who suffered injuries in stone-pelting by the

Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Ghanshyam Singh said
rail traffic was disrupted on Delhi-Chennai route. Many trains
were stranded at Vidisha, Itarsi and Habibganj stations due to
the agitation.

Many trains were diverted from Itarsi, Maxi, Devas and
Bina railway stations due to protests.

Section 144 of CrPC banning gathering of five or more
persons was imposed in Aishbagh area and was lifted after over
two hours, the Collector said.

Following violence, a large number of police personnel
were deployed in the affected areas where the situation is
under control now and rail traffic has resumed.

Some arrests have been made in connection with the arson
and violence but the exact number of those rounded up by the
police will be known later, the Collector said, adding the way
vehicles were torched and overturned it appears that some
anti-social elements were also involved in the movement and
could have been part of the groups or may have taken advantage
of the situation.
An NGO, Bhopal Group for Information and Action
(BGIA), claimed over a dozen persons suffered injuries in the

The `rail roko` call was given by various NGOs working
for the rights of the gas affected victims who are demanding
adequate compensation, among other things.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the NGO met Chief Minister,
Shivraj Singh Chouhan who assured them that he would take up
their demands with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Meanwhile, accusing the district administration of
lacking in farsightedness, the Leader of Opposition in the
Madhya Pradesh Assembly, Ajay Singh today demanded stringent
action against the police personnel who fired in air and
cane-charged the gas victims on the occasion of the 27th
anniversary of the world`s worst industrial disaster.

"The day was observed as a black day by the victims
and even on this day they were fired upon and cane-charged by
the officials," Ajay said in a statement strongly condemning
the incident.

He alleged that the incident occurred due to the state
government`s failure in maintaining the law and order

Condemning the violence, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila
Udyog Sanghtan`s Convener Abdul Jabbar said,"the violence
cannot be justified in any manner, but the movement took a
violent turn due to the Centre and the State`s indifferent
attitude towards the victims` legitimate demands since last 27

He also demanded release of those who were arrested by
the Bhopal district administration.

Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee President, Kantilal
Bhuria, also condemned the police action against the victims.

CPM`s state secretary, Pushan Bhattacharya in a
statement condemned the police action.