Hundreds of Dangaria Kandha tribal men and women joined a large group of anti-displacement activists of the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti atop the Niyamgiri hills in Odisha’s Kalahandi district on Sunday and burnt copies of the land acquisition Ordinance recently promulgated by the Narendra Modi Government.
The tribals and activists, who came together at the end of the three-day annual Niyam Raja Parab atop the hills, resolved that they would continue to oppose the “pro-corporate” Ordinance till it is withdrawn.
The activists announced a State-wide agitation against the Ordinance that they say goes against the Forest Rights Act rendering the Gram Sabhas powerless.
Copies of the Ordinance were also burnt by many people’s organisations at various places across Odisha simultaneously to strengthen their opposition to the Centre’s move.
The tribals, who won their battle against mining of bauxite from Niyamgiri hills by Vedanta for its existing one million tonne per annum capacity alumina refinery, also vowed to strongly oppose any move by the Centre to consider handing over of Niyamgiri to the company in the future.
The Samiti is also opposed to the existing alumina refinery which is being run by Sterlite Industries Ltd, a Vedanta group company, as the same is adversely affecting the ecology in the area. The Samiti is contemplating to move the court of law seeking permanent closure of the refinery, said Samiti leader Lada Sikaka.
The annual cultural festival is being organised in a big way since the anti-Vedanta agitation by the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti gained strength several years ago. It is attended by tribals from 112 villages in the Niyamgiri hills.