London: Citing the "appalling" rights record of Dow Chemicals, several celebrities on Friday appealed to the Organisers of the London Olympic Games to drop the US company as a sponsor of the prestigious sports event.
The celebrities, led by Barry Gardiner, Chair of Labour Friends of India, asked Lord Sebastian Coe, the Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games, to remove Dow Chemical from the sponsor`s list of the quadrennial event.
In the letter addressed to Coe, Gardiner said: "All across the world people have signed up to kick Dow Chemical`s out of London 2012.”
"From Olympic gold medallists and Bollywood legends, to artists, actors and politicians, extraordinary people have made it clear that Dow must clean up its legacy in Bhopal before it tries to clean up its reputation on the back of the London Olympics".
The letter has been signed by politicians, Olympians and celebrities from across the world.
The signatories include Gold medal winning Olympians from India, Pakistan and the US, Bollywood director Shekhar Kapur, photographer Ragu Rai, Indian racing driver Aditya Patel, writer Indra Sinha, film maker Pradip Krishen, actor Martin Sheen, Nancy Dell`Olio, DJ Paul Oakenfold, the artist Antony Gormley and the US academic Noam Chomsky besides others.
The list also include some of the high-profile names in the UK politics- former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Conservative MP Ms Priti Patel and Simon Hughes, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats.
"On the 27th anniversary of the Bhopal Disaster, my thoughts are with its victims. It is shocking that almost three decades after one of the world`s worst industrial tragedies, water supplies in the area still remain contaminated with toxic chemicals," Livingstone said.
The letter said: "The Union Carbide Corporation was responsible for the deadly gas leak which killed up to 25,000 people. In 2001 Dow Chemical Company bought Union Carbide, which completely owns the company and elects every single director to its board, yet they deny any liability for the original disaster."
"Union Carbide is resisting `polluter pays` litigation arising from the tragedy by failing to appear to serious criminal charges in India, prompting the Indian Court to declare the company `a fugitive from justice`".
The gas tragedy hit Bhopal on the intervening nights of December 2-3, 1984, killed over 15,000 people and maimed lakhs leaving several others scarred for life.