Front Line , Feb. 24-Mar. 09, 2007
MEDHA PATKAR, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader, is attacked every time she enters Gujarat. The last time this happened was at a peace meeting in Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad, during the communal riots in 2002. The NBA office in Vadodara has been ransacked several times.
Mrinalini Sarabhai, dancer, was forced to withdraw her signature from an NBA petition. Her daughter, Mallika Sarabhai, dancer, has been harassed for speaking out against the communal violence.
Ramdhan, Scheduled Caste/Schedule Tribe Commission chairperson, was attacked when he visited the Narmada dam site some years ago.
Painter M.F. Husain's gallery, in a cave in Ahmedabad, has been attacked twice and his works have been destroyed.
Citizen's Initiative, an alliance of organisations that was involved in relief and rehabilitation after the communal violence in 2002, was threatened, had its phones tapped and its offices raided, and some of its camp organisers were even arrested.
Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), a collective of unorganised women workers, was harassed and government aid was cut because a large number of its members were Muslim.
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), a human rights organisation supporting witnesses in court, receives constant threats. Acid bottles were flung into the house of the project coordinator in Vadodara, and later it was broken into and all legal papers were stolen. Yet, the police have done nothing and refuse to provide protection.
Bollywood actor Aamir Khan's films Rang De Basanti and Fanaa were not screened in Gujarat because the Bajrang Dal threatened violence. Khan incurred the wrath of the Sangh Parivar because he supported the NBA. Students who went to Mumbai to see Fanaa were beaten up when they returned to Gujarat.
Dia Mirza, Bollywood actor, was hurriedly rushed out of Rajkot because she supported Aamir Khan's stand on the Narmada issue. Dionne Bunsha