We appreciate that you have been sincere in moving the Indo-US relationship to a higher plane of bilateral cooperation in various spheres. We also admire you in India for being the Mr Cool of international politics. But your response to India’s demand to extradite the CEO of Union Carbide has been one of disappointment.
Your refusal to extradite Anderson to India not just makes one suspect your sincerity about Indo-US relations but also brings to focus the inconsistency in your approach in dealing with a similar problem facing the two nations: your response to the Gulf of Maxico gas tragedy is at stark contrast with how you have responded to India’s demand for extradition. How does this inconsistency square up with your claims to promote relations with India? How does it fit in with your reputation as a leader who is above general humdrum of politicians who only care about their constituencies?
The gas leakage in a Union Carbide factory claimed thousands of lives and left many more physically challenged for life. The subsequent generations were born with ailments and handicaps. The toxic gas had so maimed the victims and affected the subsequent generations that in photos they appear like remains of prehistoric humans excavated from a geological site.
The victims and their families are still awaiting justice. They say those who died were lucky as they escaped being humiliated. Do you know how much Union Carbide paid in compensation? $500 per victim! And to add to their indignation comes your smug refusal to extradite the culprit.
There are clear reports indicting Union Carbide for not putting in place any safety measures. The reports also indict the company for not informing the people residing around the factory after the leakage started. If the company officials had done so, then the damage could be minimized. The accident took place just a month before the company’s license to manufacture the toxic gas would expire. One can understand the lackadaisical approach of Union Carbide.
The Maxico gas disaster has wreaked lower scale of human tragedy and your government has promised adequate compensation to every affected family. We appreciate your concern for them. We don't need compensation from your government. (In fact, given our current friendship, we could give you some.) But don’t you think the least you could do for the victims of Bhupal gas tragedy was help India bring Anderson to justice under Indian laws and in the land where he perpetrated the crime?
In the meantime, some of us have to answer for a few things as well.
Take care, and hope to see you in India this November.