Maoist Political Prisoner Exposes “Whose Development Is It, Anyway?”

Now that the Government has finally struck down the Vedanta mining project in Orissa, senior Maoist leader Kobad Ghandy, presently under arrest inside Delhi’s Tihar jail, writes about how mining giants are making obscene amounts of money at the cost of the poor while even the State fails to make any gains.-Open Magazine

International supporters of the Dongria struggle against Vedanta mining apply the message and image of the anti-colonial movie Avatar to the struggle

28 August 2010

By Kobad Ghandy

Our defeat was always implicit in the victory of others; our wealth has always generated our poverty by nourishing the prosperity of others—the empires and their native overseers. In the colonial and neo-colonial alchemy, gold changes into scrap metal and food into poison.— Eduardo Galeano in Open Veins of Latin America

It is ironic — the richer the land the poorer its people: Eduardo Galeano, in his above mentioned book said: “The Indians (local inhabitants) have suffered, and continue to suffer, the curse of their own wealth; that is the drama of all Latin America”.

In India too, the richest states of Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh are amongst the poorest in the country. Of course, unlike two centuries back in Latin America they no longer exterminate the local population. They induce slow death through starvation, disease and lack of livelihood. Development for some has always been at the cost of ‘development’ for the many.

Tantalum, a necessary ingredient of computers, cell phones, ipods, and so on, is to a large extent, extracted cheaply from Congo which has one-fifth of the world’s deposits. But to extract that (together with gold and tin) MNCs have tied up with warring warlords which has taken a toll of 5.4 million lives since April 2007. Killings continue at the rate of 45,000 per month and Congo has become the world capital of rape, torture and mutilation. Continue reading

Indian government rejection of Vedanta bauxite mine a “landmark victory” for Indigenous rights

Dongria Kondh protesting Vedanta's bauxite mine project

Amnesty International :: 24 August 2010

Amnesty International today described the Indian government’s decision to reject the bauxite mine project in Orissa’s Niyamgiri Hills as a landmark victory for the human rights of Indigenous communities.

India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests today rejected the mine project proposed by a subsidiary of UK-based Vedanta Resources and the state-owned Orissa Mining Corporation, after finding that the project already extensively violates forest and environmental laws and would perpetrate abuses against the Dongria Kondh adivasi and other communities on the Hills.

“The Dongria Kondh and other local communities have been struggling for years for this decision, which is a very welcome one,” said Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director, Madhu Malhotra.

“The companies and the Orissa government should now guarantee that they will not attempt to simply move the project to another site without ensuring adequate safeguards – they must ensure they will respect the human rights of Indigenous and local communities wherever the companies operate.” Continue reading

Vedanta’s Controversial Mine Gets Backing of India’s Prime Minister

June 30, 2010

In a highly unusual move, India’s Prime Minister has intervened directly in the approval process for one of the world’s most controversial mines.

The office of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has written to the Environment and Forests Ministry urging it to clear Vedanta’s proposed Niyamgiri mine in Odisha. The mine cannot go ahead without official clearance from the Ministry.

The mine is likely to have a devastating effect on the Dongria Kondh tribe who live in the area. A Dongria Kondh man told Survival International, ‘Mining only makes profit for the rich. We will become beggars if the company destroys our mountain and our forest so that they can make money.’ The tribe has become known as the ‘real Avatar tribe’ because of the parallels between their plight and that of the Na’vi in James Cameron’s blockbuster. Continue reading

Philippines: New People’s Army Seizes 24 Firearms in Negros

May 21, 2010 Ang Bayan (bimonthly newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines)

The New People’s Army (NPA) in Negros [an island in the central Philippines] seized 24 firearms in two separate disarming operations before the end of April.

At dusk of April 30, Red fighters under the Roger Mahinay Command (RMC-NPA) raided the Maricalum Mining Company in Barangay San Jose, Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, seizing 20 firearms from armed guards and from two responding policemen from the Sipalay PNP Substation.

The arms seizure comprised 12 Mossberg shotguns, two cal .38 revolvers, two 9 mm pistols, two .22 revolvers, an M16, an M14, a grenade, rounds of ammunition and other military equipment. The NPA held Maricalum Mining Company’s chief security guard for a number of hours.

The company was formerly known as the Marinduque Mining and Industrial Corporation and is now managed by G Holdings Inc. The NPA had already warned the company when it raided its airplane hangar more than a month ago. Continue reading