Protests erupt in India over Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of fabric curtain around 2012 centrepiece

Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of the ‘wrap’ around the 2012 Olympic stadium has provoked a furious row in India because of the company’s link to the 1984 Bhopal chemical disaster.

It was announced last week that Dow – one of the existing sponsors of the London Olympics – would fund the wrap in return for being allowed to advertise on the 336 fabric panels which make it up ahead of the start of the games.

But campaigners have condemned organisers for allowing this, arguing that Dow – which bought the owner of the Bhopal plant Union Carbide in 1999 – should not be allowed to “detoxify” its brand.

The Indian government says that 3,500 people died within days of the leak from the plant and that more than 15,000 have died since then.

“Dow as sponsor of Olympics is like a dance on the graves of Bhopal gas victims,” said Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action.

“The London Olympic organisers must show some moral responsibility and remove Dow from the sponsors list.”

Dow insists that while the past must never be forgotten, its “position as a Worldwide Olympic Partner” represents its “vision for the future”.

“Fundamentally, the Olympic Games are about peace, progress, sustainability and the world coming together to celebrate our common humanity. We share that vision and are committed to achieving it,” a company spokesman said.

However, others point out that the firm continues to fight legal action in India and the US to secure compensation for victims and pay for a full clean up of the site.