Bhopal gas victims demand IOA to boycott London Olympics
New Delhi, Dec 14 (ANI): Victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak tragedy and former India hockey star Aslam Sher Khan met senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Acting-President Vijay Kumar Malhotra here on Wednesday to demand the boycott of London Olympics in the wake of Dow Chemicals' sponsorship of the event.
Aslam Sher Khan, who is presently the President of the Olympian Association of India, along with the gas victims met Malhotra to submit a petition signed by 1,100 gas victims and sportsmen opposing India's participation in the marquee event.
They demanded that New Delhi should boycott the 2012 London Olympics due to the events' sponsorship by the company linked to the 1984 Bhopal gas leak tragedy.
"The Olympic Games that are going to be held in London include a company called Dow Chemicals', which has given a sponsorship of rupees 620 million rupees and have also given advertisements. We, the gas tragedy victims, are protesting this," said Rashida Bi, an activist seeking justice for the victims of the Bhopal Gas tragedy.
"After committing such a huge blunder in Bhopal, on what basis is Dow Chemicals', which has taken over Union Carbide as its new owner, is being allowed to be part of the games? We have come here to demand that the government boycott the games," she added.
Aslam Sher Khan on his part said the inclusion of Dow Chemicals' in the Games would hurt the sentiments of the entire nation.
"Our government and our Olympic Committee should build pressure on the organising committee of London on behalf of Bhopal and the entire country to remove Dow Chemicals' from the sponsorship of London Olympics. Otherwise, it will not only hurt the sentiments of people of Bhopal, but of the entire nation," said Khan.
"I am hopeful that the way he has assured that it is a first step, even we are at our first step, and if India and Bhopal gas tragedy victims are meted out with unfair treatment then Indian government and people should not shy away from boycotting the games," he added.
Meanwhile, Vijay Kumar Malhotra assured that the government would take a firm stand on the issue.
"The Olympic Games are the friendship games and of a high spirit of friendship and transparency in world friendship or so. But having this tainted company (Dow Chemicals'), as one of the sponsors will put London Olympics in bad reflection throughout the world," said Malhotra.
"And we will definitely ... tomorrow is our meeting of the Executive Board and AGM, General Body meeting, we will take a tough stand and write to them that they should be removed from the Games," he added.
Malhotra, however, refused to comment upon the victims' demand of boycotting the Games and added that it would be decided after deliberations with the government.
The Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs had earlier written to the Indian Olympic Association regarding the controversy surrounding sponsorship of the London Olympics by Dow Chemicals, a firm that is being blamed for the December 3, 1984 Bhopal Gas tragedy. he Sports Ministry had asked the IOA to raise the Dow issue with International Olympic Committee, as in India; there is strong public sentiment against Dow being the sponsor of an international sporting event. (ANI)
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