India Has Not Asked Athletes to Boycott Olympics: Maken

New Delhi, Mar 30 (IANS): India's Sports Minister Ajay Maken Thursday said the government hasn't asked the athletes to boycott the London Olympics in view of objections over the Dow Chemicals sponsoring the games.

Maken said the matter has been pursued at a diplomatic level with the host nation. Dow Chemichal-owned Union Carbide was responsible for the Bhopal Gas tragedy in 1984 that claimed several thousands of lives.

"India has not asked its athletes to boycott the London Olympics over Dow Chemicals sponsorship. The matter had also been taken up through diplomatic channel with the Government of UK," Maken said in response to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

Maken said the matter should taken up to create a wider awareness about strong and legitimate view on this issue widely through India's missions in countries which are members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"It would serve to remind the rest of the world that the tragedy of Bhopal lingers on and evokes deep public sympathy in the country for the innocent victims," the minister said.

Maken said that the government had advised the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to take up the issue of sponsorship of London Olympics by Dow Chemicals with the IOC.

"It was pointed out to IOA that the association of IOC with Dow Chemicals militates against the fundamental ethical principles represented by the Olympic movement," the minister informed the house.

"In response to IOA's taking up the matter with IOC, the latter replied stating that Dow Chemicals had no connection with the Bhopal tragedy since Dow Chemicals did not have any ownership stake in Union Carbide until 16 years after the accident and 12 years after the $470 million compensation agreement was approved by the Supreme Court.

"The ministry also took up the matter directly with IOC urging it to go beyond lesser considerations, and in the larger interests of the ideals of human rights, compassion and solidarity, cancel the sponsorship of Dow Chemicals for the 2012 Games, thereby apart from assuaging the feelings of millions of people, send a strong message the world over, for upholding the noble ideals of the Olympic Movement," the minister added.


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Title: India Has Not Asked Athletes to Boycott Olympics: Maken

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