Survival International has issued a press release about a fight to save a sacred mountain of a tribe in India.
Apparently, the mining giant Vedanta is challenging a ban on mining the sacred mountain of India’s Dongria Kondh tribe. The Orissa High Court will hear the case on Wednesday 2 February.
The Dongria Kondh, whose have been compared to the fictional Na’vi from the Hollywood blockbuster movie Avatar, won an historic victory against Vedanta last year. India’s Environment Ministry blocked Vedanta’s multimillion-dollar bid to create an open-pit bauxite mine on the Dongria’s sacred mountain, stating that Vedanta had shown ‘blatant disregard for the rights of the tribal groups.’?
Speaking to Survival International recently, one Dongria Kondh man said, ‘We do not think that we have won. We hear that mining has been stopped but whilst the factory [refinery] is still there our people, our land, may be taken away some day.’
Vedanta’s billionaire chairman Anil Agarwal held separate meetings with India’s Prime Minister and the Environment Minister recently. Following their meeting, the Environment Minister told journalists, ‘mining is a closed chapter, but so far as the expansion project is concerned we can consider it…provided they meet some conditions.’
In an interview Mr Agarwal said recently, ‘I am more sensitive about our people, about our adivasi [tribal] people, than anybody else’. However two independent investigations commissioned by the Indian Environment Ministry each concluded that Vedanta’s plans were likely to ‘destroy’ the Dongria Kondh.?
Demonstrations against Vedanta have continued since the Ministry’s decision, with thousands marching to the gates of Vedanta’s alumina refinery, demanding it be shut down.