India: Tribe's Human Chain to keep UK Firm Off Sacred Mountain
Hundreds of members of the Dongria Kondh tribe have formed a human chain around their sacred mountain today to prevent British mining giant Vedanta from bulldozing it in the eastern Indian state of Orissa.
The tribes people and their allies began to form the chain in the early hours of this morning. The chain remains in place and stretches for at least 15 kilometers, blocking all roads leading to the mountain.
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.
Thousands of people, a majority of them tribal, have formed a 17km (10.5 miles) human chain around hills in the eastern Indian state of Orissa.
They were protesting against plans to start bauxite mining in the hills by a UK-based multinational company.
Reports from Lanjigarh, about 600km from the state capital, Bhubaneswar, said over 10,000 people encircled the Niyamgiri hills.
The Supreme Court last year said two huge mining projects could proceed.
The ruling meant that an arm of the British-listed mining giant Vedanta could use bauxite from a mountain in Orissa which local hill tribes view as sacred.
Bauxite is regarded as one of the world's most important aluminium ores.