Friday, November 11, 2005

Vedanta Strikes Back through the Orissa Government

Just in from Independent Media. The groups protesting Vedanta had organised a rally for today (11th Nov.), to protest the Alumina refinery and the proposed mining on Niyamgiri, specially in light of the scathing report submitted by the CEC to the Supreme Court. The Government of Orissa and Vedanta, it seems, are really smarting at having their noses rubbed in the ground by a motley group of environmentalists and social activists, and has reverted to their heavy handed tactics. Latest news is that at least three-four prominent activists have been arrested, that raids are being carried out all over Kalahandi by the police, and heavily armed police has been posted everywhere to thwart the rally. We will keep you all posted on the fast developing situation as we get reports from the Independent Media and other media outlets.

Repression in Vedanta Alumina Area
Nachiketa, Independent Media, 10 the Nov, 2005

The Orissa government has become restless to suppress any democratic resistance and protest coming in its way of opening mining reserves for plunder by Indian and multinational companies. The leadership is busy in signing MOUs everyday and the state police have been empowered to deal with firmly if anywhere people are preparing themselves to oppose this madness of the regime. Even now in Kasipur, where Alcan and Aditya Birla's UAIL have not got any fresh approval from appropriate authorities under the forest and environment acts, people have been forced to leave with repression. Local police is still terrorizing innocent tribals either by arresting them or by arresting people who have volunteered to bail out their arrested kith and kin. On 25 th October 2005, the Jajpur district deputy police chief came in plain clothes to Bhubaneswar in a vehicle donated to them by the Jindals and kidnapped Rabindra Jarka the tribal leader of the movement of displaced persons of Kalingnagar industrial city from a crowded public road close to the venue of the All India Tribal Convention organized by the AIKMS and Loka Sangram Manch.

Right now when I am writing this mail to you all, the police are aggressively continuing their mission of arresting the visiting leaders and activists including their local hosts in Lanjigarh and Bhawanipatna who have started arriving in Bhawanipatnam and Lanjigarh in response to the appeal of the local movement against Vedanta Aluminum to launch a " Vedanta Go Back" campaign. The report of the CEC of Supreme Court accusing the Company of gross violation of forest and conservation laws and acts and indicting the state and union governments for their complicity in the crimes have inspired the locals to renew their demands of throwing Vedanta out of Kalahandi. Tomorrow, that is on 11 th of November, 2005, they have a plan to launch an agitation at the gate of Vedanta's plant site in Lanjigarh, which the company is constructing at an aggressive pace ignoring the CEC report. Most of the leaders from the on going people's movements in Orissa have assembled in various places in Kalahandi to reach Lanjigarh tomorrow and express their solidarity with the locals. But the leaders and activists had never anticipated that armed police would surround Lanjigarh from all sides and prevent them from reaching Lanjigarh. So far they have detained the key local leaders and activists who included Nayan Dash and Sidharth Naik. The police in Bhawanipatnam are searching for state level leaders camping in the town to arrest them. People approaching Lanjgarh by road have been threatened with dire consequences. A war like situation has been created in the district because of massive deployment of armed police. The Chief Minister Nabin Pattnak, who happens to be the home minister is least aware of the deeds of his force and is least interested to know about it. Outside pressures in the form of protest e.mail and appeals may work.

Since you are all aware of the projects in question and the past developments we are not burdening you with any further details.

Thanks and regards


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