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Olympics organisers willing to meet Bhopal activists

March 30, 2012 21:28 IST

Under tremendous pressure from India to drop Dow Chemicals as London Olympics sponsors, the Games' organising committee chief Sebastian Coe said they are ready to meet the activists protesting against the company because of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) chief was faced by a handful of protesters, who were shouting slogans against Dow which took over Union Carbide -- the company responsible for the tragedy -- ahead of a press conference in London on Friday.

Sebastian Coe"The answer is yes. But actually it will be an ongoing exchange. We have been talking for some time but clearly the answer is yes," Coe said when asked if LOCOG was willing to meet activists.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) has already ruled out any possibility of Dow being removed as the Games sponsor despite repeated protest by the Indian Olympic Association and the Indian government.

The IOC has made it clear that Dow had no role to play in the tragedy as it bought Union Carbide in 2001, 17 years after the disaster which left thousands dead and several still recovering from the aftermath.

IOC coordination commission chief Denis Oswald, meanwhile, reiterated that they sympathised with the victims but would not hold Dow responsible for the tragedy.

"We realise the tragedy that Bhopal was and we have a lot of sympathy for what happened," he said.

"But we know that Dow was not the owner of the company and they were not running the plant at the time of this accident.

"Since then they have been tested in court twice and it's why we feel comfortable about this relationship and we know that LOCOG is engaged with them to talk."

Photograph: Stephen Hird / Reuters

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