Indian Runners Stop in Danbury
DANBURY, Conn. (AP) _ Two Indian college students running from Boston to Miami to raise money for victims of the Bhopal chemical disaster broke their journey in the home city of Union Carbide Corp.
Kaman Chandrapal and Raman Subramanyam ran for almost three hours in this western Connecticut city on Wednesday, the 38th day of their trip, and were joined by Union Carbide employee John Rodriguez, who took the day off from work to show them around town.
Chandrapal and Subramanyam, both 21, are billing their trip as non- political. After an April visit to Union Carbide’s corporate headquarters, they said they were convinced that the Dec. 3 leak of deadly methyl isocyanate gas from a Union Carbide plant that killed as many as 2,000 people was an accident.
After a morning run from Newtown, a suburb about six miles east of Danbury, Chandrapal and Subramanyam met Rodriguez at his Danbury home, showered and prepared for lunch, an afternoon car tour of the city and a run around the jogging trail on Union Carbide’s 144-acre corporate campus.
″We’re doing this really to get an understanding of the United States and to help the victims of the India disater,″ Chandrapal said as he stood on Rodriguez’s front steps. ″We were very moved by what happened over there. I was crying.″
The runners, residents of India’s Andhra Pradesh state about 800 miles south of Bhopal, were in the United States at the time of the accident.
The two are not actually collecting money but are publicizing the Lions Club International Foundation’s Bhopal relief fund, and readily give anyone interested in contributing an Illinois address where funds can be sent.
Chandrapal said, ″I haven’t any idea″ how much money has been raised through their efforts. Chuck Allworth, a spokesman for the foundation in Oak Brook, Ill., said he could not determine how much of the $17,675 the LCIF had received as of April 30 came through the work of Chandrapal and Subramanyam.
Chandrapal and Subramanyam, who are studying international commerce in the United States, began their journey April 22 in Boston. There, they ran as unofficial entrants in the Boston Marathon; both finished, with times slightly more than four hours.
It’s not the first long-distance running they’ve done. In 1983, they ran 7,500 kilometers - about 4,600 miles - through India ″to encourage the spirit of adventure and foster unity among Indians,″ Chandrapal said.
When they started their U.S. trip, they said they had assigned target dates for arrival at each of their major stopping points, but, Subramanyam said, ″we’re becoming more flexible. We’re having a fun time meeting Americans.″
The pair plans to run to Miami and, once there, decide whether to continue with their original plan to circle the United States.