Sunday, November 13, 2005

ANTI VEDANTA RALLY AT LANJIGARH DESPITE REPRESSIONDONGRIAS JOIN THE RALLY FOR THE FIRST TIMECOMPLETE 'NO' TO THE PROJECT ECHOEDDespspite preventive arrests of leaders and activists and armed policeblocking the ways of tribal protesters marching towards the gate ofVedanta Alumina's Lanjigarh plant, more than 2000 agitators started aprocession at 1.30 PM who than covered a distance of 2 kms shoutingslogans 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 illegalconstruction site. The most highlighting part of the procession wasthe participation of Dongria Kondhs of Niyamgiri armed withtraditional weapons, who joined any public protest against Vedanta forthe first time. The Dongria's are among the most primitive tribes ofthe country who are present in the Niyamgiri Hill range only. Themeeting, which took place right in front of the company gate, wasaddressed by a host of speakers. They included leaders of the movementDaising Majhi (presided over the meeting), Bhim Majhi, tribal womenleader Maladi Majhi, Com. Gananath Patra, Com Sivaram, RajendraSarangi, Prof. Bhagbat Prasad Rath, Santosh Malik, Rajendra Bharati,Dhabaleswar Nayak, Satyabadi Naik, BB Thakur, Srikanta, Snehansu andSidharth Naik. Though some of the speakers highlighted theobservations and recommendations of the CEC, they demanded the ousterof the company from the soil of Kalahandi at any cost. " We have takenan oath to oust the company from our soil even if the Supreme Courtdoes not listen to the wisdom of its own committee ( CEC ) and ignoretheir report", said some of the leaders. The veteran revolutionaryleader Gananath Patra told us that, he was shocked to see the " AnilAgrawal Company aggressively going ahead with its construction
the local tribal MLA, who is also a minister in charge of tribaldevelopment has been mobilizing tribals for a dharana in front of thesupreme court in favor of the company at the time of hearing of thecase. There is a rumor going on in the area that "Vedanta has beenassured by an Oriya judge in the supreme Court that the verdict willnot go against the company if such a dharana drama is arranged inDelhi". Perhaps this is the reason why the leaders were looking doublydetermined to drive Vedanta out of Kalahandi. Though the CEC reporthas encouraged them a lot, they have decided to take the movementtowards its logical conclusion even if the highest judiciary decidesto go against the people and their wisdom, as it has been the caseanywhere else.The arrested leaders were released in the night. They included NayanDash and Lingaraj (National Secretary of Samajvadi Jan Parishad). Oursources in Kalahandi confirm us that police did not arrest SidharthNaik, though such news had reached us earlier.The meeting and demonstration at the gate of Vedanta\'s illegal plantsite, which successfully took place despite police repression, hasonce again helped in reviving and strengthening not only the movementbut also its support base in Bhawanipatna. The 11th November protestprogramme of the locals despite police repression assumes significanceas the ABN AMRO people are reportedly visiting Vedanta\'s field area onthe 14th and 15th of November 2005.",0]
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activities even though the CEC report has gone against them". It seemsthe local tribal MLA, who is also a minister in charge of tribaldevelopment has been mobilizing tribals for a dharana in front of thesupreme court in favor of the company at the time of hearing of thecase. There is a rumor going on in the area that "Vedanta has beenassured by an Oriya judge in the supreme Court that the verdict willnot go against the company if such a dharana drama is arranged inDelhi". Perhaps this is the reason why the leaders were looking doublydetermined to drive Vedanta out of Kalahandi. Though the CEC reporthas encouraged them a lot, they have decided to take the movementtowards its logical conclusion even if the highest judiciary decidesto go against the people and their wisdom, as it has been the caseanywhere else.The arrested leaders were released in the night. They included NayanDash and Lingaraj (National Vice-President of Samajvadi Jan Parishad). Oursources in Kalahandi confirm us that police did not arrest SidharthNaik, though such news had reached us earlier.The meeting and demonstration at the gate of Vedanta's illegal plantsite, which successfully took place despite police repression, hasonce again helped in reviving and strengthening not only the movementbut also its support base in Bhawanipatna. The 11th November protestprogramme of the locals despite police repression assumes significanceas the ABN AMRO people are reportedly visiting Vedanta's field area onthe 14th and 15th of November 2005.

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