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Dow's London deal angers former players

other Updated: Aug 08, 2011 01:00 IST
Firoz Mirza
Firoz Mirza
Hindustan Times
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Dow Chemicals will sponsor the £7 million artwork 'wrap' around the main stadium for London Olympics, 2012, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies and a series of other events during the sporting extravaganza. But Indian hockey Olympians from Bhopal are not amused.

They have decided to write to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the Union ministry of sports to convince the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to cancel the deal. Otherwise, India should boycott the games to pay homage to thousands of lives lost in one of the worst ever industrial tragedies that struck the globe, said the local hockey Olympians like the legendary Aslam Sher Khan.

"We will ask the government to boycott the games if the LOCOG carries out the deal despite being conveyed the message in this regard," Khan told HT.

Local sporting greats were witness to the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984 in which about 15,400 people (figure based on official compensation lists) were killed and close to six lakh injured. Lethal gases had leaked from the local Union Carbide India Limited plant, a company that was subsequently bought over by global giant Dow Chemicals.

Several cases are pending in both Indian and UK courts about Dow's responsibility in cleaning up the staggering human and environmental mess.

Dow Chemical has not responded to a mail sent by HT regarding the Olympic sponsorship.

Sameer Dad, another hockey Olympian from the city, lost his maternal grandfather Syed Majiduddin in the tragedy. He feels the London Olympics should not be held with funding from Dow Chemical.

Hockey Olympian Syed Jalaluddin Rizvi also confirmed that the former players would write a letter to the IOA and the Union sports ministry to cancel the deal.

Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, an NGO fighting for gas victims, said, "Funding from Dow Chemical will tarnish the legacy of the games."