Odisha tribals gear up to protest state

After the state government's fresh move to revive its proposed mining plan in Niyamgiri hills bordering Kalahandi and Rayagada districts, tribals residing in the hills are geared up for a strong movement against the government to protest its plan. They have decided to go Supreme Court to keep their views on the issue.

Recently, the state government through its PSU Odisha mining corporation (OMC) had filed an interlocutory application in the Supreme Court urging it for re-convening of the gram sabhas to get opinion from the affected tribals on mining in the hills. In its order, the court had directed the state government to file a fresh petition after including all stakeholders as parties in the case.

The tribals, mainly Dangaria and Jharania kandhas, said they will not allow anybody to mine their sacred hills. They protest mining in their area because they believe the hill is the abode of their god Niyamraja. They also fear the mining will destroy the ecology of their motherland and livelihood of the primitive group.

"According to Supreme Court's order, gram sabha had been taken place at 12 affected villages and people of these villages rejected the mining proposal in 2013. But why the government is raising the issue again? It is hatchling a conspiracy against us," said Niyamgiri Surakshya Samiti president Kumuti Majhi.

He said samiti members have started sensitizing the tribals on the issue. He has convened a meeting on Thursday to discuss about their next plan of action to protest the government's fresh move. "All the tribals are ready to go to jail, but we will not bow down before the government's pressure," he added.

Source TOI

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