Saturday, November 12, 2005

More news about Vedanta from Independent Media

Just in from Independent Media, Orissa. The anti-Vedanta Rally at Lanjigarh seems to have been a great success inspite of the police Bandobast.


Independent Media, Bhubaneswar

Despspite preventive arrests of leaders and activists and armed police blocking the ways of tribal protesters marching towards the gate of Vedanta Alumina's Lanjigarh plant, more than 2000 agitators started a procession at 1.30 PM who than covered a distance of 2 kms shouting
slogans such as, " Vedanta go back", " Niyamgiri or No Niyamgiri, Vedanta must leave Kalahandi", " We want development not disaster" before they reached the main gate of the company's illegal construction site. The most highlighting part of the procession was the participation of Dongria Kondhs of Niyamgiri armed with traditional weapons, who joined any public protest against Vedanta for the first time. The Dongria's are among the most primitive tribes of the country who are present in the Niyamgiri Hill range only. The meeting, which took place right in front of the company gate, was addressed by a host of speakers. They included leaders of the movement Daising Majhi (presided over the meeting), Bhim Majhi, tribal women
leader Maladi Majhi, Com. Gananath Patra, Com Sivaram, Rajendra Sarangi, Prof. Bhagbat Prasad Rath, Santosh Malik, Rajendra Bharati, Dhabaleswar Nayak, Satyabadi Naik, BB Thakur, Srikanta, Snehansu and Sidharth Naik. Though some of the speakers highlighted the
observations and recommendations of the CEC, they demanded the ouster of the company from the soil of Kalahandi at any cost. " We have taken an oath to oust the company from our soil even if the Supreme Court does not listen to the wisdom of its own committee ( CEC ) and ignore their report", said some of the leaders. The veteran revolutionary leader Gananath Patra told us that, he was shocked to see the " Anil Agrawal Company aggressively going ahead with its construction activities even though the CEC report has gone against them". It seems the local tribal MLA, who is also a minister in charge of tribal development has been mobilizing tribals for a dharana in front of the supreme court in favor of the company at the time of hearing of the case. Though the CEC report has encouraged them a lot, they have decided to take the movement towards its logical conclusion even if the highest judiciary decides
to go against the people and their wisdom, as it has been the case anywhere else.

The arrested leaders were released in the night. They included Nayan Dash and Lingaraj (National Secretary of Samajvadi Jan Parishad). Our sources in Kalahandi confirm us that police did not arrest Sidharth Naik, though such news had reached us earlier.

The meeting and demonstration at the gate of Vedanta's illegal plant site, which successfully took place despite police repression, has once again helped in reviving and strengthening not only the movement but also its support base in Bhawanipatna. The 11th November protest
programme of the locals despite police repression assumes significance as the ABN AMRO people are reportedly visiting Vedanta's field area on the 14th and 15th of November 2005.

No comments: