Bhopal protests with its own 'Special Olympics'

Survivors of gas tragedy say Dow Chemical should not sponsor the Games
Bhopal protests with its own 'Special Olympics'
A child takes part in the 'Special Olympics' in Bhopal
ucanews.com reporter, Bhopal
India
July 27, 2012
NGOs campaigning for the victims of the Bhopal gas disaster yesterday held a ‘Special Olympics’ as a protest against the company deemed responsible, Dow Chemical, a sponsor of the Olympic Games starting today in London. The participants – all victims – competed in softball, crab-walking and wheelchair races close to the now abandoned Union Carbide plant that caused 20,000 deaths after a methyl-isocyanate leak in 1982. Dow Chemical later took over Union Carbide. “I could have been among those competing in the Olympic Games but due to the gas tragedy I am here,” said participant Sitesh Lakhara, a 12-year-old boy who was born handicapped as a result of the disaster. He uses a wheelchair and has difficulty speaking. Lakhara’s mother, who still suffers from memory loss and asthma due to pollution in the air and water, said it was important to come to the event to lodge their protest against Dow Chemical. The US-based company is due to sponsor the Olympics for a decade, a deal which campaigner Rachna Dhingra said was unacceptable in light of what happened in Bhopal. “We will keep demanding termination [of the sponsorship deal] even after the Games are over,” she said. The International Olympic Committee has defended its sponsorship deal with Dow Chemical, saying that the company played no role in the Bhopal gas tragedy. Related reports Survivors hail Olympic decision to quit Dow withdrawal of logo not enough, say activists
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