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Aamir Khan stands by his views on Narmada issue

Courtesy: UNI
Monday, April 17, 2006

Mumbai, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, who earned the wrath of pro-Narmada Dam activists for supporting the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) agitation, today defended his stand on the issue and said he would not be bullied by political pressure.

Aamir told reporters that the agitation against him in Gujarat was being organised by political parties. '' I will not step back even if the protestors threaten to harm me or my films. I have lived in Kutch for six months during the filming of 'Lagaan' and am very well aware of the water scarcity in the region. People of Gujarat love me and even though I did not wish to make this public, I would like to inform that I have donated Rs 25 lakh towards the relief and rehabilitation for the earthquake affected people in the state. I want the people of Gujarat to get water,'' he said.

The actor said he did not wish to comment on the issue of raising the height of the dam. ''Supreme Court has already given its decision on the matter. I am only saying that the poor people whose land and property have been affected due to the construction of the dam be rehabilitated properly and on time. Even the Supreme Court has given its directives regarding proper relief and rehabilitation.

I do not think that I have made a mistake,'' he added.

Aamir lamented that Narmada issue has been politicised. He said it was the duty of the governments of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra as well as the Centre to rehabilitate the project=affected at the earliest. ''I am confident that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will do justice to the poor people whose livelihood and home will be affected after the villages are submerged,'' he added.

A visibly angry Aamir said he wanted the people to carefully watch the vandalism in the name of protesting against him. ''These are the political parties who are supposed to take care of us especially the poor who need assistance. I want the people to take note how the political parties are resorting to bullying tactics. If these political parties are not supporting poor farmers, what are they for,'' he added.

When asked about the criticism by Arundati Roy that he endorses Coke brand, Aamir said, ''I do not require her permission to speak on any issue or support anybody. Coke representatives are meeting me soon to explain their manufacturing process.'' He rejected criticism that he took a pro NBA stand for publicity.

''If I wanted publicity, I would have spoken on issues before the release of 'Rang De Basanti.' Before its release, I did not give a single interview. The film is a superhit,'' he added.

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