New Delhi: Increasing public outcry on the Bhopal gas verdict, especially the new details about Warren Anderson’s ‘great escape’ has clearly put the Congress party on the back foot as it is now urging that ‘it is time to move on’, and pay more attention to the proper rehabilitation of 1984 tragedy victims.
Speaking to reporters on the issue, Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natrajan said, “We should look forward in the national interest and concentrate more on the proper rehabilitation of the victims and the survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster.”
The Congress leader reaffirmed faith in the judiciary and said that those responsible for the tragedy were duly convicted by the honourable court.
However, she evaded questions on fixing the responsibility on the state and central government (both Congress) of the time; especially in relation to the safe exit provided to the Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson.
When pressed further by reporters on the Congress’ connivance in the entire episode, Natrajan said, “I have nothing further to add on the issue. We have asked the government to initiate process for extraditing Union Carbide CEO Anderson.”
She also ducked the question on the role of then Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Arjun Singh in Anderson’s escape from India to US. Natarajan said, “Please try to understand that I can only comment up to certain level. But I still reiterate that we should now look forward and ensure that nothing like the Bhopal gas tragedy occurs in the future.”
The Congress leader also slammed the main opposition BJP for unnecessarily politicising the issue and said, “The party itself has lot to answer for.”
The cautious reactions from Natrajan come at a time when the Congress party appears divided on the issue and has distanced itself from the Bhopal gas controversy.
Natrajan’s clarification also follows senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s jumping into the defence of his political rival Arjun Singh over the safe passage given to Warren Anderson.
Defending Arjun Singh, Digvijay had said that that the state government was not responsible for the CEO’s exit, and it appears to have been facilitated under US pressure.