“It just shows they are scared of us, even more than they are of the government”
Activists associated with the Bhopal gas tragedy have expressed little surprise over the WikiLeaks expose claiming Dow Chemical had hired surveillance corporation Stratfor to spy on them.
“We are not surprised at all because that is the kind of company Dow chemical is. We believe they had put someone on our ‘Remembering Bhopal' list during 2004-06 when Dow was lobbying intensely with Ambassador Ronen Sen, Minister Kamal Nath and even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. With the benefit of retrospect, it all seems to make sense now,” said Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group of Information and Action (BGIA).
Other activists also echoed similar views.
“It just shows that they are scared of us, even more than they are of the government,” said Abdul Jabbar of the Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sangathan — an organisation of gas victims.
However, reacting to media reports claiming India would partially boycott the Olympics and Indian officials would not be part of the opening and closing ceremonies for the tournament, Mr. Jabbar said it should be the last resort.
“India should firmly put its feet down and persuade the organisers to push Dow out of the games. Boycott and other such measures should be the government's last resort,” he said.
Meanwhile, two survivor organisations have sent a memorandum to Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), requesting both bodies to rescind Dow Chemical's sponsorship.
The memorandum has been sent by N.D. Jayaprakash of the Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti — a coalition of all-India and Delhi-based organisations for supporting the struggle of the gas-victims — and Mr. Jabbar.
“We consider that Dow is guilty of practising and condoning racial discrimination... of resorting to falsehood, bribery and intimidation to promote its business interests.
“For maintaining the spirit of the Olympic Movement and for upholding the sanctity of the Olympic Charter and the Code of Ethics, we urge the IOC and the LOCOG to rescind that decision for, it was made on the basis of false and misleading information furnished to you by Dow,” the memorandum reads.
Invoking the “six fundamental principles of Olympism,” enshrined in the Olympics Charter 2011, the two organisations have urged the IOC and the LOCOG to reconsider its earlier decision on the basis of a fair and balanced assessment of all the facts and not solely on Dow's ‘fabricated' version.
The memorandum cites the following parts from the Olympic Charter: “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement,” and from the IOC's Code of Ethics (2012): “The Olympic parties, their agents or their representatives must not be involved with firms or persons whose activity or reputation is inconsistent with the principles set out in the Olympic Charter...”