IOA president asks IOC to remove Dow as Olympics sponsor

December 20th, 2011 - 8:23 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) The Indian Olympic Association (IOA), in a strongly worded letter Tuesday, asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reconsider 2012 London Games’ sponsorship deal with Dow Chemicals, which bought the tainted Union Carbide blamed for the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

IOA’s acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra, in a letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge, said: “I am writing you this letter on behalf of IOA to convey the deep feeling of hurt of millions of people not only in India but all over the world regarding Dow Chemicals’ being sponsors of the London Games.

“IOA has received representations from several former Olympians, hundreds of suffering people, NGO’s and agencies working among the thousands of Gas victims, protesting the London Games Organisers link with Dow Chemicals. Dow has bought US chemical firm Union Carbide, whose plant was responsible for the gas tragedy that took place in Bhopal in 1984 killing and disabling thousands in one of worst Industrial disasters in recent history.”

A copy of the letter has also been sent to London Olympics organising committee chairman Sebastian Coe. Under heavy protest from India, Dow Chemicals has reportedly agreed to remove it logo from London’s Olympic stadium but Malhotra in his letter said that India was not satisfied.

“A false campaign has been launched by the Dow Chemicals’ saying that matter has been settled. It is not correct. The case is still pending in the court and no final compensation has been made. IOA feels that Dow Chemicals should be removed as the sponsors of the Games. Because the very presence of this company is against the spirit of the Olympic ideals,” Malhotra said.

The victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy have been demanding that India should skip the Olympics due to the involvement of Dow Chemicals, which bought the tainted Union Carbide blamed for the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

The leakage of tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas on the night of Dec 2-3, 1984, from the Union Carbide’s pesticides plant killed several thousand people besides affecting hundreds of thousands of people. Government records show 5,295 deaths, besides 4,902 with permanent disability, 35,455 with temporary disability and 527,894 with minor injuries. Union Carbide was later bought by Dow Chemicals.

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