Washington: Ahead of his visit to India, a human rights group has asked US President Barack Obama to speak up about the Bhopal gas tragedy while promoting his country's business interests during the trip.
Even after 30 years, people continue to suffer from the impact of the disaster at a factory owned by US-based company Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), that killed 20,000 and injured thousands others. The site is not cleaned up, the Amnesty International said yesterday.
"The failure of Obama to speak up will embolden US-based companies to ignore accountability for their involvement in human rights abuses. While he is celebrating Republic day, the president should not forget the people of Bhopal, who still suffer from the effects of the disaster," the Amnesty said.
Obama should also explain why the US-based Dow Chemical Company (which owns UCC now) is ignoring repeated summons by an Indian Court to explain why its wholly owned subsidiary has failed to appear in India to face serious criminal charges against it in relation to the disaster, it said.
"These actions by Obama will set the course for US-based companies to seriously consider the welfare of Indian citizens affected by their actions. While promoting US business interest in India, Obama should not ignore the welfare of Indian citizens," it added.