India Land Grab: Forced Evictions in Orissa

on Jan 27, 2012

Police and security guards forcibly removed people from land earmarked for a Vedanta toxic waste dump.

Research by Amnesty International and other local and international groups documents the serious and continuing pollution caused by the refinery’s operations. Despite the string of decisions against Vedanta, the company has failed to remedy the pollution.

“This decision vindicates the ongoing peaceful protests by the local communities near Lanjigarh to prevent this expansion from going ahead as it would further pollute their lands and water sources,” said Amnesty International’s India researcher Ramesh Gopalakrishnan.

“The Indian authorities have remained silent on the issues of cleaning up the refinery and monitoring the health of local communities. They must act on this now,” he added.

by, January 31, 2012

India’s great land grab continues, with police forcibly evicting tribal villagers in Orissa from land sold to UK-based Vedanta Resources to use as a toxic waste dump, Amnesty International reports.

The evictions come amid a fraught battle between the mining industry and India’s tribal peoples, as well as environmental activists.  Orissa is among India’s poorest and least developed states, but its mineral riches have led to a breakneck race to strip the land of iron, bauxite and other metals needed to fuel the country’s infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.

To gain access to these riches, however, the state government has conspired with industry to run roughshod over the rights of its indigenous peoples, according to their advocates.  Local resentment has also helped to make Orissa one of the flashpoints in India’s simmering Maoist insurgency — a crisis that recently resulted in the deployment of some 50,000 police and paramilitary personnel. Continue reading