Web Edition

Internal » News » Asia

Indians urge UK to drop chemical firm as London 2012 sponsor

28 Feb 2012 - 6:12

Islam Times - Britain’s claim of hosting the greenest Olympics in history has come under a cloud as Indian activists and victims of Bhopal gas tragedy urged the UK government to drop the chemical company as the Games’ sponsor.

Some 60 Indian campaigners handed over a petition, which was signed by 20,000 people, to the officials of the British High Commission in New Delhi, asking them to mediate in the London Olympics sponsorship issue.

The Bhopal activists strongly condemned the UK government for signing a lucrative deal with Dow Chemical, the owner of the Union Carbide India Limited whose pesticide plant in Bhopal killed up to 25,000 people and injured over half a million in one of the world's worst industrial disasters.

The campaigners, who have been protesting against the role of Dow in the London 2012 since last year, also staged a protest outside the office of Indian sports ministery to ask the minister to boycott the Olympics.

Campaigner Rachna Dhingra stressed that officials at the sport ministry assured the activists that the “Olympics boycott is on their table and that they are just waiting for a reply from the IOC, to whom they have written a letter."

The Indian activists also accused the British government of turning a blind eye to the Bhopal Disaster and its inhabitants who are still suffering from the toxic legacy with children born with deformities and contaminated water supplies.

Last month, Meredith Alexander, commissioner for a body monitoring the London Olympics, resigned in opposition to the chemical company’s sponsorship of the Games.

“It’s supposed to be an opportunity to showcase the best and the brightest, whether it’s the host city or the sport, it’s supposed to be about the Olympic values. Instead, all of us are going to have the toxic legacy of Dow Chemicals on our conscience,” she said.

Despite widespread objection to role of a chemical company in the Olympic Games, head of Olympic organizing committee Lord Sebastian Coe said in a statement that he “absolutely stand by our procurement process and Dow were, by a distance, the most sustainable solution to our wrap and we are comfortable with that."

While five Olympic rings are believed to represent all nations in the world and link them together with the Olympic ideals, activists stress the London Olympics will start with a big dent in its ideals.