India: Church Excluded From Helping Bhopal Gas Victims


Church leaders working in the central Indian city of Bhopal that witnessed a horrendous industrial accident 32 years ago say children continue to be born with deformities but their offer for help is not welcomed.

“We have come across birth deformities and other ailments especially among the children born to affected parents,” Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal told

Bhopal Archdiocese “definitely wanted to help” such people but because of a “lack of support from the government we are unable to support them,” he said.

Some 40 tons of the poisonous gas escaped Dec. 2-3 night in 1984 from a chemical plant in the outskirts of Madhya Pradesh state capital of Bhopal.

It killed some 3,000 people in a matter of hours, and thousands more the following days.

In order to work among the affected, agencies need government permits and licenses but the church’s offer to work among them are always neglected.

“The church with its rich experience and dedicated manpower could help the gas affected suffering people, but the administration seems to be not in favor of involving us,” Archbishop Cornelio said.

The state is run by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party that Christian leaders say condones much of the anti-Christian violence in the state.

UCA News

The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News, UCAN) is the leading independent Catholic news source in Asia. A network of journalists and editors that spans East, South and Southeast Asia, UCA News has for four decades aimed to provide the most accurate and up-to-date news, feature, commentary and analysis, and multimedia content on social, political and religious developments that relate or are of interest to the Catholic Church in Asia.

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