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Olympics boycott is on the table, claims Bhopal NGO

bhopal Updated: Feb 27, 2012 19:22 IST

Union sports ministry officials have assured them that India was all prepared to boycott the London Olympics over the Dow Chemicals' sponsorship issue and was only waiting for the International Olympics Committee (IOC) response, Bhopal gas tragedy survivors' representatives said in Bhopal on Monday.

Led by five organisations, the gas tragedy survivors met sports ministry officials on Monday and pressed for the boycott of the London Olympics.

Earlier in the day, they also met and presented a memorandum to officials of the British high commission and asked them to intervene on the London Olympics sponsorship issue.

"We met Marcus Winsley, Director, Press and Communications, UK high commission. He promised to give a response to the memorandum and also said that he will deliver the petition to the relevant authorities in the UK," Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action told IANS over the phone from New Delhi.

The memorandum was presented to the British high commission by five gas survivors' organisations and carried more than 20,000 signatures from a campaign, started by British nurse Lorraine Close on Change.org, that calls on London Games organisers to drop Dow as a sponsor.

"We met Rahul Bhatnagar, the joint secretary in the sports ministry. He assured us that the Olympics boycott is on their table and that they are just waiting for a reply from the IOC, to whom they have written a letter," Dhingra said.

"He even said that like gas victims, it is their (ministry's) concern too that Dow is sponsoring the Olympics," the activist added.

Dow Chemicals acquired the Union Carbide, whose subsidiary Union Carbide India ran a pesticide plant in Bhopal where gas leak on Dec 3-4, 1984, killed an estimated 25,000 people in the worst industrial disaster in the world.