India will not boycott Olympics but will protest against Dow

New Delhi: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Thursday decided not to boycott the 2012 London Olympics but it will lodge a strong protest with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over Dow Chemicals sponsoring the mega sports event.

The victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy have been demanding that India should skip the Olympics due to the involvement of Dow Chemicals, which bought the tainted Union Carbide blamed for the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

The leakage of tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas on the night of December 2-3, 1984, from the Union Carbide’s pesticides plant killed several thousand people besides affecting hundreds of thousands of people. Government records show 5,295 deaths, besides 4,902 with permanent disability, 35,455 with temporary disability and 527,894 with minor injuries. Union Carbide was later bought by Dow Chemicals.

The sports ministry, in a letter Wednesday, asked the IOA to raise a strong protest with the IOC over the issue of Dow’s association with the Olympic movement.

The executive body of the IOA during its two-day AGM that started here Thursday decided to lodge a strong protest over the tainted Dow Chemicals sponsoring the mega event.

“The executive committee today decided that it would raise a strong protest with the IOC. We will write a strong letter to the IOC conveying them the sentiments of the Indian people on the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy,” a top member of the executive committee said.

The executive committee also felt that it would be unfair to boycott the event.

“The IOA is not in favour of boycotting the Olympics, since it would be unfair on the athletes and it would also go against the spirit of the Olympic movement,” the official said.

IOA’s acting President V.K. Malhotra had also demanded removal of Dow as an Olympic sponsor.