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Human rights organisation Survival International protested today outside the AGM of British mining giant Vedanta.
Survival has launched a new campaign targeting British FTSE-100 company VEDANTA, whose plans to mine a sacred mountain in India, if approved, will destroy the remote Dongria Kondh tribe. Vedanta is owned by London-based Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal. Survival is urging shareholders to disinvest from the company.
Vedanta’s subsidiary, Sterlite, is currently awaiting permission from India’s Supreme Court to mine bauxite, the raw material for aluminium, from Niyamgiri mountain in Orissa, eastern India.
The 8,000 Dongria Kondh, one of India’s most isolated tribes, vehemently oppose the mine, saying it will destroy their way of life forever. Sterlite plans to construct a huge open cast mine, which will destroy a vast swathe of untouched forest, as well as a large part of the mountain itself. The Dongria Kondh have lived on the slopes of Niyamgiri since time immemorial, and are totally dependent on its forests. They view the mountain as sacred, grow crops on the slopes, and gather wild fruit in the dense forests.
Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘It’s time for Vedanta to sit up and listen: mining Niyamgiri will destroy the Dongria Kondh, it’s as simple as that. The days of companies trampling on tribal peoples’ rights are over. Vedanta must change, and if they won’t, shareholders should use their influence to make this happen.”