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Dow's sponsorship of London Games not taken by British Government, says High Commission

New Delhi, Wed, 29 Feb 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Feb 29 (ANI): In the wake of strong resentment in India over Dow's sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympics, the British High Commission has said that the decisions regarding the sponsorship were taken by International Olympic Committee (IOC) and also the London Organizing Committee and the British Government was not involved in taking the decision.


"Obviously decisions around sponsorship have been taken by International Olympic Committee and also London Organizing Committee; it's not a decision taken by British Government. The UK as a whole invested a lot of amount in the 2012 Olympic We want that to be a great success and we would very much hope that success means success by Indian athletes as we want to see them on our soil in 2012," said British High Commission Spokesperson Marcus Winsley on the Dow controversy.


The spokesperson, however, seemed to justify the decision concerning sponsorship when he said: " We understand that the industrial tragedy was a true tragedy, our deepest sympathy is with all those who are affected. Secondly decision about Dow sponsorship was taken in the full knowledge of all the factors that are available and this Dow neither owned nor operated in the plant at the time of tragedy or at the time when final settlement was agreed in 1989."


The Government of India has asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to drop Dow Chemicals as sponsor of the 2012 London Games as the company is linked to the 1984 Bhopal Gas tragedy.


This move of the Indian Government comes after repeated letters of protest by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) failed to move the IOC.


The Union Sports Ministry has sent a 'strongly-worded letter' to the IOC seeking the removal of Dow Chemicals" sponsorship of this year's London Games.


The Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs had earlier last year 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.


The 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.


In the early hours of December 3, 1984, around 40 metric tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked into the atmosphere from the plant of Union Carbide and the breeze carried the lethal gas to the surrounding slums.


The government says around 3,500 died because of the disaster. Activists, however, calculate that 25,000 people died in the immediate aftermath and during the following years. (ANI)


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