A victim of the Bhopal gas tragedy has asked India to boycott the London Olympics to protest against Dow Chemicals sponsoring the sports event.
Sanjay Verma who lost seven members of his family including his father and mother in the tragedy on the night of December 2, 1984 told members of the Indian Journalists Association, Europe here last evening "Indian Government should boycott the London Olympics and it should be left to individual athletes to participate or not."
Campaigners in India believe Dow has ongoing liabilities relating to the 1984 Bhopal disaster through its ownership of Union Carbide, the company that owned the plant at the time of the disaster.
Dow which bought Union Carbide 17 years after the disaster and insists all its liabilities were settled in a 1989 compensation deal with victims. Sanjay Verma was born in Bhopal five months before the disaster. His family lived in Jaiprakash Nagar.
Sanjay said, "Thousands of people were killed by Dow Chemicals. They have blood on their hand and now the blood is going to the London Olympic. There should not be any business with Dow Chemicals."
He said Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, along with other members of the committee should visit Bhopal and see what Dow Chemicals had done there."
Asked what are his priorities, Sanjay Verma said "I would like to see the site is cleaned up, victims of the gas tragedy rehabilitated and the victims should have proper treatment."
But Barry Gardiner, Chairman of the Labour Friends of India who has been campaigning against Dow Chemicals and its involvement with London Olympics 2012 said "India should not boycott the Games."
"Athletes train for long time for the Games and I don't think boycott of the games will help. Boycott will be absolutely wrong. I'm pro-olympic, my father was an Olympian." He said, "If there are protests, I don't want them to disrupt the athletes. They can target the organisers."
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