The tribal communities are also demanding that the bauxite quarry lease to Neco in Amadi be scrapped.

Tameshwar Sinha
| Updated: December 5th, 2020

Narayanpur, Chhattisgarh

Dhaudai in Narayanpur district is seeing a huge protest, as over 6,000 people from the tribal communities of seven districts in Bastar division in Chhattisgarh are up in arms to protect their people, forest and land. The protest was triggered when six villagers were accused of being Naxals and arrested on November 12. 

The tribal communities are also demonstrating against the Amadi bauxite quarry in Narayanpur, which has been leased to Neco. It is said work will begin there soon, and the protestors have blocked the road near Dhaudai, about 260 kilometres from state capital Raipur. The quarry is inside the forest and is surrounded by tribal settlements.

The men and women sit with their indigenous weapons alongside the road near the dense forests. This blockade has caused a major inconvenience to those commuting from Narayanpur.

The tribal people are demanding the release of the six arrested and the scrapping of the mining lease on the quarry. They threaten to continue the protest till their demands are met.

“We shall not retreat unless our demands are fulfilled. We have even come equipped with enough ration to support us till December 17,” Bisal Nag of Sarv Adivasi Samaj, an umbrella body of tribal communities, told Gaon Connection.

The tribal people said they would not allow movement of any vehicles except those involved in essential services. As they spoke, they paved the way for an ambulance rushing someone to hospital. The local weekend markets will also remain closed. Though the administration has asked the protestors to return to their villages, they have refused to do so. 

The tribal communities are also demonstrating against the Amadi bauxite quarry in Narayanpur, which has been leased to Neco.

The tribal people fear mining activity in the region would pose grave challenges to the local ecology and have vehemently opposed the same. “The mining will cause huge damage to our water, forest and land,” said Bisal Nag, “We consider the earth our deity. Such an interference by the private company will endanger our territory. We will continue to stage innumerable dharnas until our demands are met. We will continue to block roads,” he added.

The tribal communities’ protest began from Chota Dongar in Abujhmad area, about 55 kilometres from Dhaudai. All the villagers have joined the dharna in the jungles of Dhaudai. The protestors include the elderly, women and children. They have been visited by all tehsildars but say the agitation will continue till a representative of the government comes to talk to them. 

In July 2019, thousands of tribal people had gathered to save their deity’s abode situated atop Nandraj Hill of Bailadila range in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.