IOC writes to Sports Ministry, backs Dow
In its letter, IOC said, "Dow had nothing to do with Union Carbide when the Bhopal gas leak happened."
New Delhi: International Olympic Committee has written to the Sports Ministry saying it cannot drop Dow Chemicals as a sponsor of the London Olympics 2012. In its letter accessed by CNN-IBN, IOC said, "Dow had nothing to do with Union Carbide when the Bhopal gas leak happened."
"Indian Supreme Court itself has reviewed the case involving Dow several times," it added.
The Sports Ministry had written to the IOC last week asking for dropping Dow as the Olympic sponsor.
After IOA failed to convince the IOC to drop Dow Chemicals as the London Games' sponsor, the Government had stepped in to ask the IOC to "go beyond lesser considerations" and cancel the deal.
In a letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge, the Sports Ministry had sought Dow's removal as Olympic sponsor. Dow currently owns Union Carbide, the company responsible for the 1984 Bhopal Gas tragedy.
The move came after the IOC refused to entertain pleas by the Indian Olympic Association.
"We cherish and celebrate the noble ideals of the Olympic movement. India stands firmly committed to these ideals and the values they promote of friendship, unity, brotherhood and compassion," the Sport Ministry letter stated.
"We strongly believe that there is no better medium than sports to inculcate and foster the feeling of friendship and solidarity among the people of the world. This being so we are dismayed that the IOC has not respected the sentiments of a large group of stakeholders including Olympians and withdrawn its association with Dow Chemicals," said the letter signed by Rahul Bhatnagar, joint secretary in the Ministry.
The ministry said the IOC should cancel the sponsorship deal for the sake of the ideals of human rights as thousands had lost their lives in the tragedy and several more continue to suffer the after-effects.
The IOC had earlier said that while it appreciated IOA's concern for the victims of tragedy but Dow Chemicals had no ownership stakes in Union Carbide till 2000.
The IOC had also said that its relationship with Dow Chemicals was well over 30 years and "we were aware of the Bhopal tragedy when discussing the partnership with Dow".
Faced with mounting pressure, IOA had urged the IOC and London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to withdraw Dow as Games Sponsors.
(With additional information from PTI)