Monthly Archives: August 2013

Stop the Visit of Narendra Modi to the UK! Remember the Gujarat genocide of 2002

Call out for action!        Labour MP for Brent North – Barry Gardiner – has invited the Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi to come and address the House of Commons on the subject of ‘The Future of Modern India’. Narendra Modi is the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and an avowed admirer of Hitler and his policies. In 2002, Modi presided over the genocidal attacks in which over 2,000 men, women and children from Gujarat’s Muslim minority community were systematically killed, including three British citizens.
This is purely an attempt to help British corporates sell their products and services in Gujarat in the interests of larger profits. Modi’s past visits to the UK have been used to raise extensive funds and support for communal violence. A visit at this time is particularly dangerous and must be stopped.

A rally will be held at Barry Gardiner’s surgery.    Please come with placards and energy!

Monday 9 September 2013, 11:30 AM – 1 PM,

Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley HA9 0FJ   Join the facebook event page here.

Please also sign the petition. Full copy below.

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Niyamgiri unanimously rejects Vedanta!

Jarapa palli sabha

20th August, 2013. Yesterday Jarapa – the last of the twelve villages selected to vote on the proposed Niyamgiri mine – sealed the victory of the mountain and its people over Vedanta, as, like every other village, it unanimously opposed the mine. Niyamgiri has now spoken, and commentators agree that, though the Ministry of Environment and Forests has the final say on the resolution passed by the villages, they would face public outcry if they ignored the clear message of the Dongria.

Thanks to the hard work of activists at, and around, Niyamgiri, the precedent process, enabled by the Supreme Court, has been fully transparent, and the Odisha government’s attempts to use violence and manipulation to influence the verdict, have failed. As a result the world has witnessed the clarity and conviction of Niyamgiri’s people – from Dongria and Kutia Konds, to Dalits, Gaudas  and others who live off the bounty of the mountain – who realise that there is no richer life than having self sufficiency, community and freedom. In the palli sabhas Niyamgiri’s tribal people showed their wisdom and knowledge as they articulated their vision of development, and questioned the type of development prescribed for them by the state, which they do not recognise as progress. (More details below). Yesterday they celebrated their great victory with music, drums and dancing.

The Hindu newspaper quotes Lingaraj Azad, leader of Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti on the final palli sabha vote:

“As all gram sabhas have unanimously rejected mining in the hills despite the sinister design by the Odisha government and ruffians engaged by Vedanta, it is time Vedanta gracefully respected public sentiment and packed off,”

The Ministry of Environment and Forests now have two months to deliver the final verdict on the mine according to the April 18th Supreme Court ruling. After ten years of bribery, corruption, coercion and violence to try to get Niyamgiri’s bauxite, Vedanta has lost a $7 billion investment. This people’s victory should be a lesson to other communities fighting mega-projects who seek short term profit over the longevity of sustainable communities. With strength, solidarity and commitment you can win. As they say in India – “ladhenge jitenge!” – ‘We will fight, we will win!’.
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Niyamgiri 10 – Vedanta 0

9th August: Ten of twelve Palli Sabhas have now been held on the Niyamgiri hills and each one has unanimously rejected Vedanta’s proposed mine, and laid claim to the whole mountain range for their cultural and religious rights.

The latest meeting to be held was in Lakhpadar on 7th August where 97 voters virulently opposed the project and rejected the claims which the judge claimed were filed for compensation of Forest Rights. Local resident and movement leader Lodo Sikoka told the judge and the panel:

“Our God lives in open space. You keep your God locked with a key. We won’t leave Niyamgiri. If the Government, Political Party Leaders ask for it we will fight and shed blood. Why do the police, armed force destroy our fields and crops in the name of combing Maoists? Why are they entering our territory? Withdraw them immediately.”

A full report of the Lakhpadar palli sabha entitled – ‘Niyamgiri is our doctor we will die for niyamgiri but never allow for mining bauxite for Vedanta‘ can be found at Orissabarta.

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Anil Agarwal denies everything inside Vedanta AGM

While our loud and colourful demonstration was going on outside Vedanta’s Grosvenor square Annual General Meeting, activist shareholders joined other investors inside the AGM to hold Anil Agarwal and his board directly accountable for the company’s many crimes. This year the board seemed to have done some planning. Anil Agarwal had a list of standard answers which were rolled out in response to any question he was asked, and a Far Eastern investor took up the majority of the meeting, edging the dissident shareholders, who usually dominate the meeting, out.

Anil Agarwal is again attempting to paint himself as India’s saviour of poverty. When asked about Lanjigarh refinery and the scandal that is the attempted Niyamgiri mine he responded with a dreamy speech about believing that Niyamgiri was meant for Vedanta. he talked about hearing about Kalahandi as a child – a ‘black spot’ on India, and its ‘poorest poorest place’, and how he’d always wanted to do something about it. He said:

“We took courage to go there, no road even or bridge, it was all isolated, we created infrastructure, 7000 got work, not a blade of grass was moved in Niyamgiri .”

This blade of grass is very famous now. It is the same blade he claims he hasn’t touched during the last ten years AGMs. Meanwhile the refinery has been built and expanded – displacing families who are now destitute, and the Dongria have been harassed, threatened and even killed.

The report from London Mining Network below gives a detailed account of the proceedings.

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Pollution and harassment at MALCO

Local resident holds her medical records to show how pollution is affecting them

This report comes direct from Mettur, Tamil Nadu, where Vedanta subsidiary MALCO operates a power plant and large red mud dump at the edge of the Stanley reservoir. The red mud dump and power plant have caused misery for the local community, who live practically on top of it, for years, and now MALCO are building a new cooling tower which will make matters worse. Already local people who oppose the plans have been threatened, and a fact finding team was sent to investigate the situation, but was itself attacked by local pro-industry goondas. This is what the local community face every day thanks to Vedanta’s callous approach to profit making.

Team investigating MALCO’s environmental violations attacked by goons in Mettur

Nityanand Jayaraman.

Mettur, 5 August 2013: A fact-finding team investigating the alleged environmental violations and high handedness of the officials of MALCO Thermal Plant in Mettur, was attacked by goons today afternoon. The team comprising of Dr. Adithya Pradyumna of SOCHARA, Bangalore, and Kavin Malar, social activist and journalist, was attacked when they came out of the meeting with MALCO public relations officer Mr. Suryaprakash and were on their way to visit the company operated coal yard in Thangamapuripatnam near Mettur Railway Station.

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Vedanta’s oil in Sri Lanka

The British Oil Interest in Sri Lanka  Phil Miller, 2nd August 2013

Oil and gas are about to gush out of the sea around Sri Lanka. Vedanta Resources Plc, a UK-listed company, are set to profit from this long anticipated prospect through their subsidiary Cairn Lanka Pvt Ltd. Both the Sri Lankan government and Vedanta have their critics. Tamil groups are calling for British Prime Minister David Cameron to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that is scheduled for November in Colombo, arguing that his attendance will legitimise the Rajapaksa regime’s untold atrocities against their people. Protestors descended on Vedanta’s AGM in London yesterday, highlighting the corporation’s abuse across the Commonwealth, from copper mines in Zambia to the aluminium industry in India: they say it has the worst environmental and human rights record of any company. Despite these campaigns, some poignant questions are yet to be asked. How has a British company with no prior experience in the oil or gas industries, acquired oil fields in Sri Lanka? And what influence will this have on UK politicians visiting the island?

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Vedanta AGM disrupted by worldwide protests again!

1st August 2013. Foil Vedanta’s report with pictures:

An inflatable monster representing Vedanta with the subsidiaries as snake like heads

Today protesters from Foil Vedanta and other organizations held a loud carnival demonstration at the AGM of controversial FTSE 100 mining company Vedanta at the Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square London. A parallel demo was held in Johannesburg. Yesterday in Delhi almost a hundred people braved rains to raise their protest at Odisha Bhawan. Meanwhile, the majority of tribal village meetings given legal power by the Supreme Court of India have unanimously voted against Vedanta’s flagship Niyamgiri mine.

 

Please see the video of the London demo here, video of the Delhi demo here, pictures here, and details of coverage of the demo’s in South Africa, Delhi and London below.

Vedanta’s London AGM was again disrupted today by protesters from Foil Vedanta and other organisations who raised a number of human rights concerns. Chanting and singing was continuous throughout the two hour protest and could be heard inside the AGM. Protesters held placards painted with defiant anti-company quotes from the Dongria Kond tribe in Odisha, India, where the company has been trying to mine illegally for ten years, and has now been stopped. Another group performed street theatre holding a giant inflatable monster with Vedanta Resources painted on it, and snake like heads bearing the names of Vedanta’s subsidiaries. Some Sri Lankan protesters played Parai drums (a Tamil drum of revolution) outside the Mayfair venue. Vedanta subsidiary Cairn India is drilling in the fragile Mannar basin off Sri Lanka. At the peak of the protests a sit in was staged as the Vedanta monster was used to block the road.

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