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Bhopal gas victims laud Olympic watchdog member for quitting over Dow deal


January 26, 2012 - Bhopal

Activists and victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak tragedy on Thursday welcomed the decision of Meredith Alexander, a former member of the London Olympic watchdog, who tendered her resignation in protest of Dow Chemical's sponsorship of the sporting extravaganza.

Lauding Alexander for her bold decision, Rashida Bi, the president of the Bhopal Gas Victims Women Stationary Association, called it a major breakthrough in their fight for justice.

"This is a victory for us. For over a year, we have been fighting against the inclusion of Dow, a company that is responsible for the tragedy in Bhopal, in the London Olympics. The purpose of organising the Olympics is to spread the message of peace, humanity and save environment," said Bi.

"However, they have included a company that is the biggest enemy of environment and humanity. We welcome the decision of the lady who has resigned from the Olympics body. We are thankful to her that she resigned after realizing the pain and suffering of the Bhopal gas tragedy victims," she added.

Rashida Bi further urged the Indian Government to listen to the voices of the masses and boycott Dow and the Olympics till the company withdrew from the event.

"The Indian government should think about it. Foreigners are realising and empathising with the victims of the tragedy and stepping down from their posts. Even the Indian government should realise this and oppose Dow tooth and nail," said Bi.

"It must boycott the company and ensure that our players do not participate in the Olympics until Dow is not removed from its fold," she added.

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 the years that followed.

ANI

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