New Delhi: Social activist Abdul Jabbar or ‘Jabbar Bhai’, who worked tirelessly for the victims and survivors of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy, died of cardiac arrest at a private hospital in Bhopal on Thursday night, family sources said on Friday. He was 62 and is survived by his wife and three children.
Jabbar Bhai was ailing and was being treated for high blood sugar and foot infection for the last couple of months, a family source told PTI. He is said to have lost almost 50% vision in his eyes and had serious lung ailments due to the leak of the deadly methyl isocyanate gas from the Union Carbide factory that made Eveready batteries.
The social activist, seen as a saviour of lakhs of the gas tragedy victims, lived just 2 km from the now abandoned Union Carbide plant, where, in December 1984, a deadly gas leak killed over 25,000 people and rendered lakhs disabled.
Described as the worst industrial disaster in the world, the impact of the poisonous Bhopal gas leak is still evident, generations later.
On December 2 night in 1984, Jabbar Bhai, who was then 28 years old, rushed his neighbours and other victims from the locality to hospitals without regard for his own safety, an acquaintance recalled. He lost his mother and brother in the tragedy.
The activist was one of the leading figures who was fighting for justice for the gas tragedy victims till his last breath, after a lifetime of organising protests, seeking compensation for kin and survivors, and launching judicial battles.
In 1987, Jabbar Bhai set up the Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sanghathan, one of the organisations that has been championing the cause of the gas tragedy victims and survivors, especially widows, for the last 30 years.
In his lifetime, the social activist imparted vocational training to around 5,000 survivor women so that they could earn a livelihood for their families.