11 Aug 2009

Niyam Raja: sacred mountain destroyed to make cans and nuclear weapons

Bauxite from the Dongria Kondh’s Sacred Mountain,in Orissa, India, will be most likely used to produce nuclear-capable weapons for the Indian Government.

Vedanta’s plan to rip apart the Niyamgiri Hills for bauxite has never been acceptable to the Dongria Kondh.

Ever since the mine was first proposed, the Kondh have said they will do everything in their power to protect the hills, even if it means sacrificing themselves.

It has not been a shallow threat, after all, the Dongria Kondh believe there is no life without the hills, where Niyam Raja, their god, has always lived.

It’s sacrosanct. The Kondh won’t even harvest any food or medicine plants from the hill. Everything is reserved for Niyam Raja and Niyam Raja alone.

Almost exactly one year ago today, a mountain of fear was lifted from the Kondh’s shoulders, when Anil Agarwal, the CEO of Vedanta Resources, announced to his shareholders that his company would not move ahead with the mine without the Kondh’s expressed consent.

On the occasion, Survival International commented: “it is the first time the company has made any such commitment to comply with international law, which recognises tribal peoples’ right to give or withhold consent for developments which profoundly affect their future,” adding that, “Vedanta’s Executive Director Kuldip Kaura backed up Mr Agarwal by emphasising, ‘the local people have to give their consent.’”

Sadly, Kaura’s and Agarwal’s words were quickly tossed to the wind and forgotten. To date, Vedanta has yet to take any steps to legally obtain the Kondh’s permission to mine the Niyamgiri Hills. Once though they made a video to showcase to the world how glorious and responsible they are. But whenever it came to approaching the Kondh, they’ve only done so under the proverbial cover of night, to invade the Kondh’s land.

More here.

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