Indian Olympic Association Protests Dow's London Sponsorship

The association does not favor a boycott of the London games, but Indians resent Dow Chemical's connection with Union Carbide and the December 1984 gas leak at Bhopal.

The Bhopal tragedy of Dec. 3, 1984, remains a sore point for Indians and a point of contention for Dow Chemical Co., which as recently as Nov. 18, 2011, posted a response to a petition seeking to reopen the Supreme Court of India's approved $470 million settlement of all claims. Dow said in the response that it "had no connection whatsoever with the Bhopal tragedy," having acquired Union Carbide Corp.'s stock in 2001 but not its liability.

Union Carbide India Limited, a partly owned subsidiary of Union Carbide Corp., owned the Bhopal plant from which methyl isocyanate gas leaked in 1984, killing 3,828 people and injuring thousands more who lived nearby.

The tragedy still reverberates in India. The Times of India reported Dec. 15 that the Indian Olympic Association's executive board will send a letter to the International Olympic Committee protesting Dow's role as a Worldwide Olympic Partner for the London 2012 games, which will take place July 27-Aug. 12, 2012. The newspaper reported IOA is not in favor of boycotting the London games but its acting president, V.K. Malhotra, has called for removing Dow from the sponsorship, saying, "This company is linked with another which was responsible for killing thousands of Indian people. 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."

India first participated in Olympics competitions in 1900 in Paris, according to IOA's website.

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