NBA Press Release
  28 May 2006
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Boycott of 'fanaa' symbol of fanaticism; NBA respects and appreciates those ho show social commitment beyond commercial interests and careers.

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The boycott of the film ‘Fanaa’ of Amir Khan, declared by the BJP Yura Morcha, and hesitatingly yet supported by Gujarat Congress is nothing but ‘Fanatics’!

This kind of intimidatory tactics are to be used by Gujarati politicians out of timidity and intolerance due to their realizing the civil society’s strength and support to Narmada Bachao Andolan and especially the eminent persons joining us. This is an unlawful action, since the Censor Board has cleared the film already, no political forum can go against, and if they do a legal action may also be initiated. Moreover, such a move against the freedom of speech and expression is against the Constitution and the democratic values. But who will take a suo motto cognizance and act, is a question. When there is none amongst the various organs and agencies of the State that could take a position on no work at the dam that would drown and doom the homes and hearts, farms and shops of thousands of families, can one expect anything much to stand by and support Amir Khan?

The Narmada Bachao Andolan and our allies in the National Alliance and Struggle condemn the intolerance and violence reflected in the propaganda and the rowdy actions by a section of the political forces in Gujarat. We appreciate Amir Khan’s committed position on ‘no displacement without rehabilitation’ as a non-negotiable and his readiness to bear the brunt. May we expect not only the Bollywood artists or the activists all over but also the common people would take a stance in support both Amir Khan and the people in the Narmada valley struggling for life against death and devastation.

The NBA has experienced similar violent outbreaks, mostly instigated by the vulgar politics, throughout its 20 years long struggle. The attack on the conference on Water in Ahmedabad, the harassment and compelled withdrawal of signature on memorandum favoring review of the project, by none else but P. G. Mavlankar, former MP and Mrinalini Sarabhai the eminent dancer; the returning back of the former chairman, the commission for SC/ST, the attack during a post-riot peace meeting in Sabharmati Ashram on Medha Patkar and media persons as also not one but three violent and destructive attacks on the NBA office in Baroda, are some of the examples. The policing, harassment, and intimidation to threatening and defamatory statements against NBA have continued til date. We, however, remain on our path to just and equitable development and join in solidarity with all these individuals to movements who share the cause.

Amir Khan, we believe, is one of those, not just the celebrities but concerned citizens and creative artists who have shown a social commitment beyond the commercial interests and careers. They have paid a cost with courage and joined NBA even in the critical periods. These include Arundhati Roy, Vijay Tendulkar, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Shabana Azmi, Shriram Lagoo, and others: painters to dramatists and artists. They carry forward the long tradition of pro-people sensitive artists in the country. We are proud of them. They have never even tried to capture dias, why talk about the movement? We know each other’s roles which are complimentary yet interlinked.

We know that the opposition to Fanaa which is fanatics to fundamentalism of a kind, is somewhat similar to the communal outbreak and failure of the state in Gujarat. Whether in the name of religion or development intolerance is intolerable and unacceptable. The people of Gujarat, the birthplace of Mahatma and Sardar both, cannot condemn or kill the differing viewpoints, especially on the issues related to development. What Amir Khan has said is the basic minimum and as endorsed by the law and judgments related to Sardar Sarovar since years. What is pushed and imposed, the dam construction up to 122 mts, is indeed illegal, unconstitutional and inhuman, and hence must stop and be questioned. The common people in Gujarat and outside cannot but support the people in the valley who deserve a right to life and they also have a right to know and judge the project on every aspect including the benefits and economics. The people of Kutch have already challenged the State, assert ing their share, and rightly so. We therefore expect the people across the country to join this struggle for freedom, democracy and truth.

Medha Patkar, Dipti Bhatnagar, Kamala Yadav, Pinjaribai, Om Prakash,
Jankibai, Clifton Rozario, Ashish Mandloi, Yogini Khanolkar, Kailash
Awasya, Noorjibhai, Banabhai, Chetan, Mohanbhai