Olympics 2008 News
IndiA government demands Dow's removal as Olympics sponsor
By Siddhartha Kumar Feb 27, 2012, 11:54 GMT
New Delhi - The Indian government has demanded that Dow Chemical Company is dropped as London 2012 Games sponsor by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after repeated protests by the country's Olympic body have failed, officials said Monday.
It is the first time that the Indian government has intervened in the matter, with the Sports Ministry sending a 'strongly-worded letter' to IOC chief Jacques Rogge, an official spokesman said.
A gas leak at a Union Carbide Corporation plant in Bhopal, capital of the central state of Madhya Pradesh, in 1984 led to the deaths of at least 3,000 people. Union Carbide was taken over by Dow in 2001.
Survivors of the tragedy have demanded that India pull out of the Olympics over US-based Dow's involvement with the Games.
For Dow Chemicals to be engaged as an official sponsor was 'extremely distressing' considering the company was linked with an industrial disaster in which thousands were killed and an even larger number incapacitated for life, the letter said.
'We are dismayed that the IOC has not respected the sentiments of a large group of stakeholders including Olympians and withdrawn its association with Dow Chemicals.
'The Government of India would, therefore, strongly urge the IOC to go beyond lesser considerations, and in the larger interest of the ideals of human rights, compassion and solidarity, immediately take steps to cancel the sponsorship of Dow Chemicals, thereby apart from assuaging the feelings of millions of people, send a strong message for upholding the noble ideals of the Olympic movement.'
The IOC recently rejected protests by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on the issue, saying Dow, that has an over 30-year relationship with Olympics, was not responsible for the tragedy.
Earlier Monday, campaigners for the Bhopal victims met British embassy diplomats with the same demand.
The IOA has maintained that India will not boycott the London games.
'We are still protesting ... we will decide on the form of protest. It will hurt the players who have qualified if we tell them that they are not going,' IOA's acting president VK Malhotra told the CNN-IBN network.
London organizers have entered a 11-million-dollar sponsorship deal with Dow including a decorative wrap to be installed on the Olympic Stadium.
Dow has asserted it could not be linked to the tragedy as it never owned or operated the Bhopal plant and that all liabilities over the disaster had been settled before it acquired Union Carbide.
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