The Calcutta Telegraphy
RASHEED KIDWAI AND POORNIMA JOSHI
Bhopal/New Delhi, April 15: Aamir Khan’s expression of solidarity with the Narmada oustees and Bhopal gas leak survivors has earned him a pat on the back from writer-activist Arundhati Roy, though some others are sceptical of his commitment.
Roy, who donated part of her Booker Prize money for the gas victims, welcomed Aamir’s gesture but had a word of advice for him.
“It was a great thing that he came here. But we would urge him to stop endorsing Coke. I would give him a big zindabad if he does that,” Roy told The Telegraph in Delhi.
Coca-Cola plants have been accused of causing water shortage and pollution at Plachimada in Kerala and in Pilukhedi, 50 km from Bhopal.
Aamir had yesterday said: “I’ll take up the issue with Coke. I have been endorsing their brand and if there is a problem, I would like to know and, hopefully, be able to correct (it).”
But in Bhopal, Abdul Jabbar, who runs the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangthan — an NGO championing the gas victims’ cause — accused the actor of playing to the gallery.
“We have suffered for over 20 years. Why has he woken up now? If he is really concerned, let him come to the city, see for himself the suffering of gas survivors and perhaps do something,” Jabbar said.
“The government is doing nothing but the conduct of people like Aamir, who hanker after publicity in the guise of social commitment, leaves a bitter taste.”