It is 39 years since the world’s worst industrial disaster took place in the central Indian city of Bhopal.
A deadly gas leak at a Union Carbide pesticides plant released over 40 tonnes (40,000 kilos) of poisonous gases in the Madhya Pradesh state capital in December 1984, killing thousands of people.
The highly toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) – used as an intermediary chemical for making pesticides – drifted across the city, exposing nearly half a million residents.
The horrors of the tragedy were many.
A cloud of poisonous gases shrouded more than 40 square kilometres, so dense that it affected visibility. Many were unaware of what had happened. Streets were filled with corpses of people trying to escape the gases and collapsing dead.
And most officials fled – including the then chief minister from the ruling Congress party in the state, late Arjun Singh – at a time when the city and its citizens needed them the most.
Official figures put the death toll at over 3,500 but according to activists, more than 15,000 people were killed within days of the gas leak, and some 50,000 maimed.
In the next few years, many were reported to have died slow and painful deaths, while four decades on, many still live with the fallout.
Social documentary maker and photojournalist Rohit Jain has been documenting the horrors of the tragedy since 2018.
“I have never seen so many children with so many congenital disorders and medical conditions in one place,” Jain says, recalling his visit to the Chingari Rehabilitation Trust clinic in Bhopal in 2004. “I was shattered and disturbed,” he told Press Xpress.
Jain says he went into downward mental health after seeing and interacting with the victims of the Bhopal gas disaster. “For us, it’s just a day to remember once in year but the survivors go through pain every day.”
Jain has been photographing those who live in the shadow of the rusting remains of the chemical plant, with support from the US-based Pulitzer Centre.