The Global Campaign Against Vedanta has issued the following press release. See below for message of support from Arundhati Roy, further reports, and press releases from ActionAid and Survival International.

27 JULY 2009, 2.00 pm onwards

The Global Campaign against Vedanta Resources plc will be protesting inside and outside the Annual General Meeting of Vedanta Resources plc at Lincoln Centre, 18 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3ED on 27 July 2009 from 2.00 pm onwards. Simultaneous protests will be held worldwide on 27 July, in the eastern Indian state of Orissa and other parts of India and a series of demonstrations, public meetings and rallies will be held in Orissa, Kolkata, Mumbai and other cities from 27 July onwards.
Vedanta Resources is a multinational mining company, listed on the London Stock Exchange whose spectacular rise involves violating Environmental Laws, Human Rights Abuse, Financial scams & Political corruption in Zambia, Armenia, India and other countries where it exploits poorly regulated mining enclaves. Recently Vedanta has announced plans to start mining in the Niyamgiri hills of Orissa, India from October 2009 and it aims to increase operations by 6 fold by 2011. Vedanta’s mining in Orissa will have a devastating impact on the fragile Ecosystem of this fertile and vitally important forested mountainous region and the state of Orissa in general. It will lead to a Cultural Genocide of the ancient tribal civilization of the Dongria Kondh and Majhi Kondh tribes, who have lived ecologically sustainable & self sufficient lives for centuries in these mountains. Vedanta’s mining will also lead to severely toxic pollution, diseases, terminal illnesses, destruction of endangered wildlife, damage to the wild elephant population, devastation of crops and arable land and the poisoning and drying up of rivers and streams, which will have catastrophic effects on tens of thousands of people for whom these rivers are crucial lifelines in Kalahandi, one of the most drought prone regions of India.
The Global Campaign against Vedanta Resources plc is spread over several countries and includes over 150 solidarity groups, Grassroots movements, NGOs, activists, intellectuals, academics, students and professionals.
1.       Vedanta should IMMEDIATELY ABANDON PLANS for mining Bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills of Orissa.
2.       PARLIAMENTARY INVESTIGATIONS in the UK and in India into Vedanta’s operations in India and around the world.
3.       Vedanta, a UK based company, MUST BE MADE ACCOUNTABLE for the social, environmental and health repercussions suffered by local communities around the world as a result of Vedanta’s callous mining activities. Those who have been affected and abused by Vedanta’s activities MUST BE ENABLED to seek justice in their home countries and/or in the UK.
4.       Vedanta Ltd, Regulators, the UK Government and Governments of the mining enclaves MUST IMPLEMENT MORE EFFECTIVE CONTROLS on Vedanta’s operations.
5.       Vedanta’s Shareholders and other investors must be MADE FULLY AWARE of the true nature of this mining company they are investing in so that they can make a better informed decision on whether to WITHDRAW THEIR INVESTMENTS from this criminally destructive mining company.
After a highly controversial legal case lasting 3 years at The Supreme Court of India, which witnessed some outrageous distortion of facts and a major miscarriage of justice, in April 2009 the Indian Government gave clearance to Vedanta to mine Bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills of Orissa for the next 25 years. Vedanta plans to start mining Bauxite in October 2009 and aims to increase by 6 fold by 2011.
·         Vedanta’s mining activities will have a catastrophic effect on the fragile Ecosystem of Orissa with over a thousand hectares of prime Evergreen ‘Reserve Forests’ being wiped out, rivers being poisoned, ground water levels falling. Already Vedanta’s Refinery, which has been built on tribal land in Lanjigarh, is critically polluting. Major rivers of Orissa, including River Bansadhara, has already been polluted at its source. Toxic wastes have ruined fertile agricultural lands, polluted air, contaminated drinking & bathing water, & caused severe illnesses in people & wildlife. Mining will compound these effects.
·         Hundreds of the local indigenous population have been killed in work and road accident in and around this Refinery because of Vedanta’s criminal negligence. The Community has been violently split and is terrorised by thugs in Vedanta’s pay.
·         Niyam Dongar is the most densely forested mountain in the Niyamgiri range. It is home to the ancient civilization of the Dongria Kondh tribe, who have preserved their sacred mountain, prevented deforestation, lived ecologically sustainable & self sufficient lives for centuries.
·         Cultural Genocide is imminent with Mass Unemployment and Destitution as farmers, fishermen and forest dwellers will be displaced and abandoned in shanty-towns. Delicate social structure will be torn apart with the collapse of traditional Economic systems, Kinship system, Egalitarian power structures and Religious values. Already displacement and the invasion by an alien industry has led to a sharp rise in illegal liquor shops, fraudulent schemes, drunken violence, wife beatings, suicides, prostitution & serious fractures in the community. Cultural Genocide will also affect Majhi Kondh tribe and will culminate in the destruction of Niyam Dongar, the most sacred mountain of the Kondh tribe and their Lord of Law. The Kondhs perceive the mountains and the forests as their Gods. So their destruction is both an environmental and a cultural atrocity.
·         These Bauxite-capped mountains are the reason for the region’s exceptional fertility and bio-diversity. Bauxite, which contains the Aluminium ore, soaks up rainwater, holds this water and releases it to numerous perennial streams and rivers, which are essential Lifelines in Kalahandi, one of the most drought prone regions of India. Removing this Bauxite will be catastrophic for the fragile ecosystem, endangered wildlife and for tens of thousands of people who rely on these rivers.
·         If mining starts on Niyamgiri, at least 50 other major mountains are next in line! Already tribal people and ‘Dalits’ (Untouchables) have movements to protect Bapla Mali, Mali Parbat, Deo Mali, Gandhamardan and other mountains in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. BHPBilliton, Alcoa, Rio Tinto, Jindal & Dubai-based companies are poised to set up Bauxite mines.
·         In Dec 2000 police opened fire on tribal campaigners, killing three at the Utkal project. While an Inquiry into the police firing was holding up this project Vedanta made its move, building its refinery before applying for permission to mine! Vedanta has repeatedly violated Government Pollution Guidelines, illegally occupied village land, criminally started construction work without Environmental Clearance, dumped toxic pollutants into rivers and cleared ‘Reserve Forest’ land despite valiant efforts by villagers to protect their forests.
·          Mountains of North Orissa are some of the last pockets of wild elephants in Eastern India. These majestic animals are being threatened by the rampant mining. Magnificent wildlife, forests, some of the highest waterfalls in India and many tribal cultures are in serious danger of being wiped out forever.
·      In early 2009, in a breathtakingly beautiful non-violent protest over 10,000 villagers and concerned citizens held hands to form a 17 kilometre human chain around the Niyamgiri hills.
·      On July 9, 2009 Amnesty International stated that “The Indian Government should immediately withdraw the clearance granted to a massive mining project (Vedanta) that threatens the lives and livelihoods of a protected indigenous community living in the Niyamgiri hills.
·      Vedanta has been blacklisted by the Norwegian Govt Pension Fund, with its pension fund investments divested in 2007 citing “serious malpractice and contraventions of environment norms and ethics by the Vedanta management in the past wherever they operate” and “human rights violation”. Procedural violations in procurement of environment and forest clearance for mining were cited. The Martin Currie Scottish Trust Fund also withdrew their £2.37m investment in Vedanta in July 2008 on grounds of “environmental and human rights violation.”
·      The Orissa State Pollution Control Board has issued more than 3 notices to Vedanta for violating pollution norms at its Refinery and the CEC committee of the Indian Supreme Court submitted several reports highlighting irregularities and corruption in Vedanta and recommending that Environmental Clearance for mining activities should NOT be give. Both Vedanta’s parent company- Sterlite and Vedanta’s subsidiary MALCO have been charged in court with the criminal violation of Environmental laws, callous dumping of toxic wastes and illegal construction.
·      Worldwide uproar followed Vedanta being awarded the ‘Golden Peacock Award’ by the World Environmental Foundation (WEF) in 2009. This same award was awarded to Satyam Computers in September 2008 before being withdrawn in January 2009 after senior management and the founder chairman were arrested for fraud. Various concerned citizens wrote a letter to the jurors of this ‘Golden Peacock Award’ voicing their concerns and exposing Vedanta’s activities. In reply the jurors dissociated themselves from Vedanta and said that the prize decision was made beforehand by one Mr Mehra. Mr Mehra is a highly dubious London based corporate guru of whom ‘The Observer’ released an article in May 2003 called ‘The Contradictions of Madhav Mehra’! Hundreds of organisations and individuals wrote to the jury of the ‘The Golden Peacock Award’ and demonstrations were held at the Award ceremony in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Such was the public anger that even the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh and other Government officials refused to participate in this Award ceremony.
·      In Vietnam, the tribal people of the Central Highlands are being invaded by the world’s top aluminium companies. General Vo Nguyen Giap – a war hero, now aged 97, who helped defeat the French and American invasions – is among a large group of the country’s leading citizens who are opposing this new invasion by mining companies. Scientists are prominent in the campaign. In Peru’s Amazon region opposition against oil extracting companies gained worldwide attention after a blockade by about 30,000 people was met by severe police violence on 5-6 June 2009, which killed at least 85 Indians. In Nigeria the assault on indigenous communities involved the outrageous ‘execution’ of writer and environmental activist Ken Saro Wiwa, who was non-violently opposing multinational oil companies. In the Phillipines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Burma, Tibet etc mining, oil and logging companies are destroying forest simultaneously with the livelihood of the indigenous peoples. Scientists believe that Swine Flu outbreak in Mexico could be due to the horrendous pollution spread by the big meat companies. In Western Australia, Erin Brockovich, the famous Environmental lawyer is representing the local community against Aluminium giant Alcoa after an outbreak of respiratory illnesses.
·      We need to understand that the Financial Crisis, Global Warming & Pandemics are linked to these exploitive industries, which pollute callously, devastate crops and arable land, destroys communities & cultures, leads to the loss of rare animals & medicinal plants, death of rivers, infliction of sickness and terminal diseases. All for the sake of a few greedy years of corporate profits. We need to join with the Grassroots movements in India, Vietnam, Peru and other countries in opposing these monstrously destructive corporations and in choosing genuinely sustainable development, which will be genuinely beneficial for the local communities and be ecologically sustainable for many generations to come.
Samarendra Das-,
Felix Padel-
Agrotosh Mookerjee-
Phone- (+44) 07528435541
Miriam Rose-

“I’m sorry that I cannot be personally present at the protest. I would if I could. This is to extend my support and solidarity with the campaign against the corporate mining company Vedanta Resources and its subsidiaries. Bauxite mountains are part of a very delicate ecosystem. The mining of bauxite and the process by which it is turned into Aluminium is among the most toxic, environmentally devastating processes imaginable. If Vedanta is allowed to go ahead with its plans for mining the Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa for bauxite it will lead to the devastation of a whole ecosystem and the destruction of not just the Dongria Kondh tribal community, but eventually all those  whose livelihoods depend on that ecosystem. The battle-lines are very clearly drawn. On the one hand the Indian Government with all its might, its judiciary and its police has aligned itself with the mining cartel of several corporations, led from the front by Vedanta. On the other side are India’s poorest forest dwelling people who stand to be displaced from their homes and lose their livelihoods and their way of life. In some ways it’s an ancient battle and a familiar one, whose story has been played out over centuries in every continent across the world and has had a more or less similar outcome ie: The Corporations always win. This is commonly known as “Progress’. However,  today, in the era of climate change, surely it’s time to realize that  forests, river systems  mountain ranges and people who know to live in ecologically sustainable ways, are worth more than all the bauxite in the world. Vedanta ought to be stopped in it’s tracks. Now. Immediately. Before any more damage is done.”
Arundhati Roy
Successful Protest against Vedanta in Lanjigarh, Orissa,
despite company goons trying to stop activists on the way

Source: Environmental Protection Group, Orissa
25 July 2009
See photographs at
Hundreds of tribals from the Niyamgiri mountain and Lanjigarh staged a protest against Vedanta’s mining and refinery project that will ruin the sacred Niyamgiri mountain alongwith its water sources, rich cultural values and religious beliefs of thousands of Dongrias and the Dalits living there for millenia. The protestors drew a line on the way where Vedanta is forcefully building the mining road, giving a strong message that the company will not be allowed beyond that line. This protest was part of the Global Campaign against Vedanta carried out all across the country and other parts of the world. The activists demanded immediate closure of the refinery and scrapping up of mining permission given to Vedanta’s subsidiary Sterlite Industries India Ltd. This protest comes at a time when the Vedanta Resources plc. is gearing towards its annual shareholders meeting in London next week.
The activists had to face opposition in various forms while going to join the protest today. For instance, the road in Lanjigarh side was blocked by the goons with boulders and stones. This did not mar the spirit of the people as they crossed them. The henious act of intimidating people by a group of motorcycle riders reached a high point when the vehicle carrying senior activists of the camapaign viz., Bhagwat Prasad Rath, Prafulla Samantara and Bhalachandra, was stopped by the goons. They first threatened the driver and charged him to have killed someone in an accident a few days back. As usual, all this was a way to stop the vehicle from going ahead. The goons forced the activists to retreat and as they were going back, a large group of tribals coming for the protest joined the senior activists and chased the goons away. Realising the plans laid out by the goons in the entire area, the protestors took Bhagwat Prasad Rath and Prafulla Samantara to a safe place as the others proceeded for the protest site.
It has come to the knowledge of the protestors that the plot was spread by the supporters of one of Orissa’s biggest mafia don Mahima Mishra who has been given the contract to build the mining road to the Niyamgiri hills. It is noteworthy here that the tribals of Niaymgiri and Lanjigarh have been continuously intimidated by the goons with weapons for many months now working with Mahima Mishra to protect that company officials.
When the activists went to the police station to lodge a complaint against those who stopped them on the way in Dahikhal, they were told that the area does not fall in their jurisdiction and that they have to go to Ambadola, another 10-12 kms from there. It was thought unwise to proceed to Ambadola to lodge a complaint in the light of the whole day’s proceedings, the activists did not go and instead have written to the SP of the area as well as to the Collector to take immediate action against such intimidation.
It must be noted here that the latest tactics of Vedanta is to refrain people from attending meetings and interacting with people joining the struggle from outside. This was clearly seen during the public hearing in Belamba in April 2009 and again during one of the meetings in the Niaymgiri hills in end of June. The tribals have revolted very strongly and as always, have shown great collective wisdon and energy in dealing with such situation. Today’s protest is an example of this determination as thousands of them shouted slogans and resolved to protect the mountain against all odds.
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