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Clampdown on sacred ritual as Vedanta mine appeal approaches

Source:  Copyright 2012, Survival International
Date:  February 23, 2012
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Security forces are cracking down on the Dongria Kondh tribe as they prepare for a religious festival this weekend at the top of India’s most contentious mountain.

Hundreds are determined to attend the Niyamraja ritual in the sacred Niyamgiri Hills, which are at the center of a controversial mining project involving UK company Vedanta Resources.

During the worship, the Dongria will take an oath pledging never to leave the mountain, which faces renewed threats as companies eye its valuable resources.

The Dongria have fought hard to resist such advances, but speaking out against proposed mining continues to be dangerous.

Survival has received reports of arrests and beatings, and in the last week alone, police have shut down six meetings where food supplies were being organized for this weekend’s festival.

Giridhari Patra from the Niyamgiri Protection Committee said, ‘Intimidating and threatening the Dongria before one ...

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