union carbide deaths

Victims of Bhopal gas catastrophe demonstrate outside the court building in Bhopal. Photo - Reuters

Who? Seven Indian employees of the U.S. chemical firm Union Carbide punished.

What? An Indian court sentenced the former employees involved in a deadly industrial accident that claimed the lives of more than 25,000 civilians for two years in jail and a fine of $2,100 only.

Where? A local court in central Indian city of Bhopal pronounced the verdict on Monday morning. The gas leak took place in Bhopal city centre 26 years ago.

When? The tragedy took place on the night of 2 December, 1984 in Bhopal.

Why? The case dragged on for 23 years that saw the U.S. chemical giant escaping its responsibilities and settling off the matter by paying $470 million to the Indian government in 1989. Union Carbide India Limited was later sold to U.S. company Dow Chemical. The main accused, Warren Anderson, the then chairman of the U.S.-based Union Carbide group absconded throughout the trial period. The court delivering the verdict didn’t mention his name on Monday.

How? Campaigners claim that 40 of tonnes of poisonous methyl isocyanate gas leaked out from the Union Carbide India Limited plant that went on to kill more than 25,000 people in its aftermath to date. Cancer, blindness, respiratory difficulties, immune and neurological disorders, and female reproductive disorders, as well as birth defects among children born to affected women are the aftereffects of the deadly Union Carbide gas poisoning.