India Olympic body wants London Games to cut Dow

AP News
Posted: Dec 14, 2011 1:06 PM
India Olympic body wants London Games to cut Dow

The head of India's Olympic committee called Wednesday for the 2012 London Games to end Dow Chemical's sponsorship because of the company's ties to the deadly 1984 gas leak in Bhopal, India.

The Indian Olympic Association is holding a two-day meeting beginning Thursday to decide what to do about the issue. Top officials have ruled out calling for a boycott of the games.

The U.S.-based chemical manufacturer will pay for a curtain-style wrap to encircle the Olympic Stadium in east London under a deal announced in August.

"Olympics are about love, brotherhood and transparency and this company (Dow) is linked with another which was responsible for killing thousands of Indian people," acting association President Vijay Malhotra said, according to the Press Trust of India. "It's unacceptable that such a company is a sponsor in the Olympics. So we will ask the London organizers to remove the company from being a sponsor."

Victims of the gas leak that killed an estimated 15,000 people say they were never properly compensated. At the time of the leak in 1984, the plant was run by Union Carbide. Dow bought Union Carbide in 2001 and says legal claims were resolved when Union Carbide paid $470 million as compensation for those killed or injured.

The head of the Olympic organizing committee, Sebastian Coe, has defended the sponsorship, saying Sunday that Dow had not owned or operated the plant when the leak occurred or when the settlement was reached.

British opposition Labor Party legislator Barry Gardiner said the Indian committee's opposition should lead organizers to rethink the sponsorship plans.