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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?