Monday, March 23, 2009

Trouble in Niyamgiri

The latest on this is that it is not clear whether anyone has died or not. But the situation is dire and will be used to prosecute the Dongarias

Dongaria Kondhs provoked by Vedanta Goons- one person probably dead

Reported by Surya Shankar Das

On the 18th of March, a motley group of contractors, mafia men, local supporters of Vedanta, etc. managed to get to the Niyamgiri hilltop on a SUV and a mobike. There they had an argument with Dongria Kondhs who fobade them from entering their sacred grove. The men did not heed their words and a clash between both groups became inevitable. The Vedanta men were beaten up badly and their vehicles were torched. One of them also suffered from serious injuries from axe blows. He was admitted in a hospital where he seems to have succumbed to the injuries two days later. This is an unfortunate fallout, that the people have been pushed to this extent. Their repeated pleas to the world has been repeatedly ignored by the company and state. Now they have been forced to use the axe which they had very clearly said they would if the need arises. While things have come to the point where they did use the axe, this will give the state police very good alibi to create a new phase of repression. People will be arrested, framed on false charges, And if that does happen a bigger casualty than Kalinga Nagar cannot be ruled out. If it doesnt happen while the elections are on then it will definitely happen when it is over. My sources have been informing me for more than a week that the mafia has been aggresively campaigning in villages like Kadamguda, Balabhadrapur, etc and they had even managed to dismantle the barricade in spirit at least. Road construction had begun and many villagers had been bought over to the company side. While all this happens at the ground Vedanta's press releases have been splashed all over the media. My sincere appeal to everyone to join hands and counter the media assault by Vedanta as well as find ways to protect the Dongrias from being pushed into such extreme situations where they have to wage medival wars to protect their home, habitat and religion.

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