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Indian newspaper says Wikileaks cables show US government contradicts Dow on Bhopal deaths

17 April 2013

The Times of India (ToI) claims leaked cables made public by Wikileaks show the US government’s assessment of the casualties caused by the leak of methyl isocyanate (MIC) from the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal in 1984 is way above that claimed by Dow Chemical Company (Dow), which now owns UCIL.

The ToI says the leaked US government cables admit the poisonous gas immediately claimed the lives of approximately 3,800 people and left almost 100,000 injured, many seriously and permanently. 

The newspaper quotes a cable that states: "In the years that followed, the number of casualties swelled nearly five-fold, with over 15,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries attributed to the disaster, according to claims settled since 1984, making it the largest industrial disaster in history."

This is in contrast to Dow Chemical’s stated position where it claimed 1,400 deaths. 

Victims' groups and NGOs assert say that Dow, which took over Union Carbide, should be held liable as a successor-company for UCIL's Bhopal legacy and the environmental rehabilitation of the accident site.

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