Bhopal, Dec 2, 2023
For the people of Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, Sunday will bring both sorrow and joy. While a large part of the population will be observing December 3 as a day of mourning and protests, for a few others it will be a day of celebration.s, while for others, it may be a day of celebration.
While political parties will be busy watching the counting of votes for the just-concluded Assembly elections in the state, others will be busy remembering India’s biggest industrial disaster that took place in the wee hours of December 3, 1984, when toxic gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant and claimed the lives of 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 remains in a somber mood and people recall the night when the toxic gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant. Those who survived India’s biggest industrial disaster till date recount stories that send shivers down the spine of listeners.
The victims describe how on that night, the streets were strewn with bodies as if leaves had fallen from a tree in autumn. Simultaneously, cries of those who lay dying and of the bereaved echoed in the air, as they were forced to leave their loved ones and flee the city in order to save their lives.
Those affected by the tragedy come together to grieve on December 3 and gather on the streets to share their stories and discuss the state of their health.
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 winners will 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.(Agency)