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Book on Bhopal gas tragedy to focus on women victims

Bhopal: Though details of the Bhopal gas tragedy had been widely documented, a soon-to-be released book focuses on some relatively unpublicised aspects of the 1984 industrial disaster such as its impact on expectant mothers of that time and the plight of women, who were rendered widows.

Following the tragedy, there were women who lost their fertility forever and could not become mothers again. There were at least 3,000 pregnant women in the worst-affected areas at the time of the disaster, not to say of others living in adjoining localities, according to the book ‘The Let Down’.

These babies, who perished, could have been alive today had this tragedy not struck the city on the night of December 2?3, 1984, when the deadly methyl isocyanate gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant here, it said.

Authored by noted writer Swati Tiwari, the book will hit the stands soon. Affected people and Governments even today continue to talk about compensation to the kin of the deceased and those who are ailing but in the past 27 years hardly any voice was raised over this grave human rights violation, it said.

The book highlights the pain and agony the womenfolk suffered and continue to suffer for no fault of theirs. Nobody cared to look into the grave injustice caused to women, some of whom were deprived of their right of motherhood forever.

“How the male-dominated society doesn’t forget its bias against women even in tragedy can be gauged from the fact that the settlement in which many widows were rehabilitated was named as ‘Vidhwa Colony’ (Widow Colony). There were men who lost their spouses but there is no ‘Vidhur Colony’ (Widower Colony) for them,” the book maintained.

“Widowhood in itself is a big tragedy in the Indian social system. So in a way, tragedy struck these hapless women twice in their lives.” Tragedy never strikes humanity on the basis of gender, religion or caste, the writer pointed out.

After 27 years of the tragedy, better sense prevailed on the administration and the present BJP Government in Madhya Pradesh renamed the colony as `Jeevan Jyoti Colony, she said.

The book has a number of heart-rending photographs of the tragedy and its aftermath featuring dead children, men, women and animals. It also chronicles protests, memorials and relentless fight for justice for the victims.

A person committing murder is put in jail. But not a single person was charged with murder or given stringent punishment for the world’s worst industrial disaster that killed thousands and maimed lakhs of others, it pointed out.

The book has a special chapter dedicated to brave activists who had been fighting for years to get justice for the survivors of the man-made disaster.

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