Tribe holds mass rally to keep British company off sacred mountain

Dongria Kondh children
Dongria Kondh children
© Jason Taylor
Thousands of demonstrators held a mass rally in India today, as Dongria Kondh tribes people and their allies gathered to prevent British mining giant Vedanta from bulldozing the Dongria’s sacred mountain.

Around 3,000 demonstrators gathered near Vedanta’s aluminium refinery in Orissa.

Plans to form a human chain stretching from Vedanta’s refinery and around Niyamgiri mountain – which Vedanta wants to mine for aluminium ore – were shelved at the last minute, and the giant rally was held instead.

Vedanta plans to dig an open pit mine on the Dongria Kondh’s sacred mountain, to extract the aluminium ore bauxite. India’s Supreme Court gave the mine the go-ahead in August last year, but road blocks by the Dongria and other Kondh tribes have so far kept construction vehicles off the mountain.

Vedanta’s chairman Anil Agarwal recently told journalists that mining will begin in ‘a month or two’.

Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘With these protests, the Dongria Kondh are showing just how far the authorities have failed them. The fact that the machines are run by a major British company should be a cause for shame in the City of London. This is a scandal which won't go away until Vedanta leaves the tribe in peace.’