//Aamir refuses to apologise for statement on dam issue

Aamir refuses to apologise for statement on dam issue

Mumbai: Actor Aamir Khan said on Thursday that he would not retract from his demand for rehabilitation of the people affected by the Sardar Sarovar dam. Pro-dam activists in Gujarat have demanded an apology from the actor to allow the release of his film Fanaa in the State on Friday.

At a press conference here, he said he had merely demanded what the Supreme Court had said on the issue. "Otherwise, let the Bharatiya Janata Party or other political parties [who are demanding his apology] even ask the Supreme Court to apologise," he said.

The film will not be screened in the BJP-ruled Gujarat, where theatre owners fear vandalism from the supporters of the dam.

"Tell me, why should I apologise? … [By apologising] I will let down those who have lost homes and lands to the dam. … I will not backtrack," Mr. Khan said and urged the people of Gujarat to support him on the rehabilitation issue. "I want to tell the people of Gujarat that I have lots of love for them. … In fact, the people should join me in taking up the cause of the displaced people." Asserting that he was not against the construction of the dam and wanted the people of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra to have plenty of water, at the same time he was also concerned over the people affected by the project.

The actor said he would continue to voice his views even if it harmed his career and business interests. "I am up against a big organisation. …I may get crushed eventually … but I will not back off."

The Bollywood star, whose recent film Rang de Basanti also ran into controversy, however, denied that he was being targeted just because he was Muslim. By taking up the rehabilitation issue, he was doing what an average Indian was expected to do. "Am I wrong to take up the poor man's issue? No Indian will think of letting fellow brethren to lose home, land, and bread and butter."

Without naming the BJP, Mr. Khan said the atmosphere in Gujarat, which led to film distributors deciding not to release "Fanaa," sent out a message that "this" political party did not believe in democracy, and did not want to help poor farmers and rehabilitate them.

Meanwhile, the Film and TV Producers Guild flayed the "extra constitutional" forces disrupting the exhibition of films. — PTI