Consider sentiments of Bhopal gas victims: Maken to IOC

New Delhi: Sports Minister Ajay Maken on Monday said that the International Olympic Committee should keep the sentiments of Bhopal Gas tragedy victims in mind and drop Dow Chemicals as sponsors of next year`s London Olympics.

With the Dow sponsorship of London Olympics causing outrage among Bhopal victims, the sports ministry today asked the Indian Olympic Association to raise the issue with the IOC.

The Ministry expressed concern over the status of the contentious company as the official worldwide Olympic partner.

The IOA, in a statement, said that it will convey the concerns of the victims and Olympians to organisers of the 2012 Games regarding its sponsorship deal with Dow.

"We have written a letter to the IOA conveying our reservation on Dow Chemicals sponsoring the Olympics. They have been made partner as per an agreement signed on July 2010. We have asked the IOA to take up this issue with the IOC," said Maken at a function here.

"We have asked the IOA to lodge its protest keeping in mind the sentiments of Bhopal Gas tragedy victims and the people of this country. The IOA should try that this partnership or sponsorship does not take place," he added.

The Sports Minister said it would be insensitive towards Bhopal gas victims if the IOC goes ahead with its sponsorship deal with Dow Chemicals.

"It would be embarassing that on one hand we are asking for extradition of certain people belonging to the Union Carbide and on the other hand we are partnering with these people. It would be insensitive to the tragedy of Bhopal gas victims. We want the IOA to convey our reservation to this deal in a very strong manner to the IOC.

"We have asked the IOA to raise this matter immediately with the IOC as strong public sentiment exists in this matter," Maken added.

Dow Chemicals, which last year in July signed an agreement with the IOC, is the company that took over Union Carbide, responsible for the Bhopal Gas tragedy that killed over 15,000 people and disabled lakhs.

Asked about the chances of India boycotting the Games, Maken said, "I hope that situation will not arise."

Dow Chemical will foot the bill of a temporary decorative wrap over London`s Olympic Stadium and the move has created "dismay among the victims and others who see Olympic Games as celebration of best of human spirits."

The IOA has received representations from several Olympians and NGOs protesting the organisers` link with Dow.


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