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Thursday, 5 September, 2002, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Indian president visits Bhopal victims
Gas leak victims make the victory sign after a court rules Mr Anderson's charges will not be lessened
Victims hope Anderson will face court

The Indian President, APJ Abdul Kalam, has visited the scene of the world's worst industrial disaster.

Bhopal victim
The company accepted "moral responsibility"
He travelled to Bhopal where 19 years ago, nearly 4,000 people died after a major gas leak from a factory owned by the American company, Union Carbide.

Since then thousands of other victims have died or suffered the effects.

The survivors and their support groups hope that those responsible for the disaster will finally be brought to book.

Pressure

Dr Kalam's two-day visit has renewed pressure on the Indian Government to extradite Warren Anderson, who faces up to 20 years in jail on the charge of culpable homicide.

Dr Kalam also intends to visit a modern hospital in Bhopal specially built for the treatment of the gas victims.

On an average, at least ten people continue to die each month from various ailments caused by the original gas leak.

Open in new window : Bhopal disaster
Images remembering India's poison gas leak

The hospital was set up by Union Carbide's new owners Dow Carbide from the money they raised by selling Union Carbide's pesticide plant.

Victims unhappy

But gas victims are unhappy with what they consider to be the exorbitant fees at the hospital.

Dr Kalam is not expected to join any public issue.

But he told doctors at the hospital that, apart from the physiological treatment, the gas victims needed compassion and love.
Victims of the Bhopal disaster
Within hours, nearly 4,000 had died

Government lawyers said they did not know where Anderson was - but the environmental group Greenpeace says it has tracked him down outside New York.

Although Union Carbide paid $470million in compensation, many survivors and relatives of the victims have still received no money.

The criminal proceedings against the 12 accused, including Warren Anderson, have also made little progress.

Last week, a court turned down a request by the police to reduce charges against Mr Anderson - but the judge told the government to seek his extradition.

In all, more than 20,000 deaths have been linked to the disaster.

More than 100,000 people are ill, including babies still being born to victims today.

See also:

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