Manmohan still has the opportunity to take a decision: Arundhati Roy
NEW DELHI: Writer Arundhati Roy, who has stood steadfast by the Narmada Bachao Andolan in its struggle against displacement of people, on Monday criticised the Centre for not standing up to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
"When [Mr.] Modi was issuing blatant threats yesterday [Sunday] on the television, not a single United Progressive Alliance politician had the courage to stand up to him. Had the NBA done that, all of them would have been in jail. So it seems this Government blinked in the face of fascism and showed itself to be uncertain and unsure of itself. It was left to Aamir Khan to face [Mr.] Modi, which he did admirably as best as he could," she said.
Referring to the Supreme Court observations in the Narmada dam case, Ms. Roy said the court had made it clear that the Prime Minister could take a decision on staying the construction of the dam. "By abdicating his responsibility, the Prime Minister has reduced his stature. He still has the opportunity to take a decision."
Letter to Manmohan
Several women’s movements and groups on Monday wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to take a decision to stop the construction of the Narmada dam till the resettlement and rehabilitation of the affected families was completed. They said the NBA struggle should not be given a "confrontational flavour." While appreciating his gesture of deputing a team of Cabinet Ministers to assess the rehabilitation in Madhya Pradesh, the women’s organisations said the publication of their report on Monday revealed that there was need to respect the Supreme Court judgments and that more displacement through further raising of the dam height would pile up more distress.
"We are sure that at this critical juncture when the country is watching which direction India will take in her respect for democracy and equitable development, you will affirm your faith in these institutions by proposing that the construction of the dam is held back till oustees are settled." The signatories to the appeal include Mohini Giri, Devaki Jain, Suman Krishna Kant, Jyotsana Chatterjee, Veena Majumdar, Mary Khemchand, Manorama Bawa and Ranjana Kumari.
Credibility at stake
Reacting to the court’s order, the chairman of the Sarva Sewa Sangh, Amar Nath, said the credibility of the Government and the judiciary was at stake. "The Report of the Group of Ministers on the lack of rehabilitation in Madhya Pradesh shows that the Narmada Bachao Andolan’s stand is vindicated."
Mr. Nath had joined the NBA dharna and indefinite fast for four days.