Official moves to calm India Olympics boycott fears

 

An Olympic boycott will not be on the agenda when the Indian Olympic Association meets next week, despite continuing outrage over Dow Chemical's high-profile sponsorship of the London 2012 Games, the IOA's acting president told Reuters today.

Many victims and activists now hold Dow responsible for compensating victims of a gas leak disaster which killed thousands in 1984 and injured hundreds of thousands more.

At the time of the Bhopal disaster in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the pesticide plant was owned by Union Carbide, and that company settled its liabilities with the Indian government in 1989 by paying $470 million for Bhopal victims.

Dow bought Union Carbide a decade after the company had settled with the Indian government and now finds itself in the firing line for its sponsorship of a temporary decorative wrap over London's Olympic Stadium.

The sponsorship has caused anger across India, but nowhere more so than Madhya Pradesh, where chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan is urging the Indian government to boycott the sporting extravaganza.

Chauhan says that instead of sponsoring the Games, the company should spend that money on Bhopal survivors.

IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra attempted to cool the row today, telling Reuters: "We are meeting next week but it's not about boycotting the Games.

"Some people have raised a concern about the sponsorship issue and we will discuss that, along with some other issues," he added.

"Some former Olympians are upset with the sponsorship deal and would like them (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) to reconsider it," Malhotra, a leader of India's main opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), added.

A group of former and current Indian Olympians organised a petition calling for athletes not to travel to London, British media reported last week.

Though India are not expected to dominate the medals table, the absence of the world's second most populous nation, and one of its fastest growing economies, would be a major blow to the London Games.

The Indian government last year demanded more than $1 billion additional compensation for the victims of the gas leak.

In the early hours of Dec. 3, 1984, around 40 metric tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked into the atmosphere and was carried by the wind to the surrounding slums.

Activists say 25,000 people died in the immediate aftermath of the accident and in ensuing years, and about 100,000 people who were exposed to the gas continue to suffer today from ailments that range from cancer, blindness to birth defects.

Every year, victims and their families stage demonstrations and Madhya Pradesh minister Chauhan led protests last week with a letter to Sports Minister Ajay Maken, requesting him to boycott the Games.

"Liabilities related to the disaster have not been fully settled and are a subject of litigation to which the Indian government is a party," Chauhan wrote.

Reuters

Suggested Topics
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Arts and Entertainment
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
film
Life and Style
tech
News
people
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'