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Former state chief urges India to boycott the London Olympics

posted 30 Jan 2012, 13:04 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 30 Jan 2012, 13:05 ]

The former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh state, Babulal Gaur, says India should boycott the London Olympics because Dow Chemicals are one of the sponsors.

The former chief minister of central India's Madhya Pradesh state, Babulal Gaur, said on Monday (January 30) that the country should boycott the London Olympics 2012 because Dow Chemicals are one of the sponsors.
Dow Chemicals' decision to be a sponsor of the sporting mega event has been opposed internationally, since Dow now owns the Union Carbide plant that was at the epicenter of one of the world's worst industrial accidents in 1984 in Bhopal.

"Definitely, India should boycott the London Olympics. Dow Chemicals is responsible for the damage caused in the Bhopal gas leak. It should be disregarded by Indians and should be criticised and should not be welcomed as a sponsor of the London Olympics," said Gaur when asked if he felt India should boycott the Games.

"Thousands of innocent people lost their lives and still are bearing effects of the ill fated gas leak because of Dow Chemicals and Union Carbide. People are still suffering from acute syndromes because of the leak so I do not think we should support Dow Chemicals at all.

"Such a company should not be allowed to sponsor the London Olympics and I strongly condemn the move. The chief minister of the state has also written to the Indian Prime Minister to voice their resentment against its sponsorship."

The December 3, 1984 disaster saw around 40 metric tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate gas released into the atmosphere, affecting surrounding slums in the region.

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

Union Carbide, which owned the pesticide plant at that time settled its liabilities with the Indian government in 1989 by paying 470 million USD for the victims, before Dow bought them in 1999.

On January 25 Meredith Alexander quit the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, saying she did not want to be part of a body that "became an apologist" for Dow Chemicals.