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Indian government vows to pursue Bhopal case

by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP) May 12, 2011
India's government vowed Thursday it would continue to press for harsher sentences for the men convicted for the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy after a setback in the Supreme Court this week.

On Wednesday India's top court turned down a request to upgrade the charges for the seven executives found guilty of negligence for the disaster that has killed tens of thousands of people.

"The Supreme Court order does not end the case as two petitions are pending in the local court in Bhopal," said Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

The police and state government are hoping a local court will accept charges of culpable homicide against the executives, which would carry a maximum sentence of ten years.

The men were convicted of negligence last year, more than 25 years after the event, and handed two-year prison sentences.

Following a public outcry over the delay for justice and what were perceived as lenient sentences, the federal and state governments announced a host of measures to help survivors, including trying to press for harsher charges.

"It is not as though we have reached the end of the road," Chidambaram added.

Thousands were killed instantly and tens of thousands over the following years after the disaster, when a pesticide plant operated by US-owned Union Carbide leaked toxic gas into surrounding slums.

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India's top court refuses to reopen Bhopal case
New Delhi (AFP) May 11, 2011
India's Supreme Court turned down on Wednesday a government demand to hand harsher sentences to seven men convicted for their role in the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. The accident, blamed on Union Carbide, a US chemical group that ran the plant, killed thousands instantly and tens of thousands more from its lingering effects over the following years, according to the official figures. A gove ... read more

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