IOC defends Dow, IOA doesn’t agree (Lead)February 16th, 2012 - 5:58 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) urged the government Thursday to intervene after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) refused to drop Dow Chemicals as a London Olympics sponsor.
IOA acting president Malhotra said he was not convinced by IOC’s argument that Dow was not to blame for the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster.
“We want IOC (to) understand and appreciate the feelings and sentiments of the victims and drop Dow as sponsors,” he said in a statement here.
Malhotra asked the Indian government to come out with a clear stand on the issue. He complained that the government had not responded yet to a letter from IOA on the issue.
Malhotra’s remarks followed IOA’s refusal to accede to mounting calls that Dow must be kept out of the Olympics.
IOA has opposed Dow Chemicals as one of the sponsors of the London Olympics because of its ownership of Union Carbide, from whose pesticide plant in Bhopal a lethal gas leak killed thousands Dec 2-3, 1984.
IOA had asked the IOC and London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to withdraw Dow as a sponsor.
But IOC told IOA that its relationship with Dow Chemicals was over 30 years old, and “we were aware of the Bhopal tragedy when discussing the partnership with Dow”.
In a letter to Malhotra, IOC chief Jacques Rogge said: “IOC recognizes that the Bhopal tragedy in 1984 was horrific event for India and the world. The Olympic Movement sympathizes with the grief of the victims’ families and regrets the ongoing suffering people face.
“The IOC and LOCOG were aware of the Bhopal tragedy when discussing the partnership with Dow. Dow had no connection with the Bhopal tragedy.
“Dow did not have any ownership stake in Union Carbide until 16 years after the accident and 12 years after the $470 million compensation agreement was approved by the Indian Supreme Court.
“The court has upheld this agreement twice since then, in 1991 and 2007.
“We understand this is being reviewed yet a third time by the India Supreme Court and we are aware of Dow’s position in this mater, and of the sensitivities of all parties.
“We only enter into partnerships with organisations that we believe work in accordance with the values of the Olympic Movement…
“We do hope the IOA is recognizing this, while we appreciate the difficult situation you are facing in your country.”
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Tags: acting president, bhopal gas disaster, bhopal tragedy, compensation agreement, dow chemicals, gas leak, horrific event, indian olympic association, indian supreme court, international olympic committee, ioa, jacques rogge, lethal gas, london olympics, malhotra, olympic movement, organising committee, ownership stake, paralympic games, union carbide