India: NGO alleges human rights defender who opposed Vedanta mine was attacked by persons hired by the company; company says claims are "baseless"

Campaign for Survival and Dignity(CSD) Odisha which struggled for the enactment of Forest Rights Act 2006 and is presently campaigning for the establishment of Gram SabhaSarkar in the line of FRA Gram Sabhain in all villages of the State condemned the attack on Activist Prafulla Samantara, President, Lok Shakti Abhiyan by goons reportedly associated with Vedanta. Prafulla Samantra, the human rights defender, alleged that the hired goons of Vedanta companyalso tried to kidnap him forcefully but failed as the villagers rushed to the spot after getting information. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Vedanta Resources to respond to the concerns raised. In response, Vedanta rejected the allegations. 

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Article
30 April 2017

India: Prafulla Samantara Receives The Goldman Environmental Prize, Asia, 2017

Author: Counter Currents

Prafulla Samantara, National Convener, National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements and the leader of Lokshakti Abhiyan, Orissa has been awarded The Goldman Environmental Prize, Asia, 2017. The Goldman Environmental Prize honours the achievements and leadership of grassroots environmental activists for their sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the Natural environment. He has been awarded the Prize for committing his life for the peoples’ struggle and the hardships that he has faced in the historic 12-year legal battle along with Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondh’s land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit aluminium ore mine proposed by Vedanta...a socialist by thoughts, has been a part of many leading Peoples’ struggles, one of which is Anti-POSCO Movement (POSCO Pratirodh Sangharsh Samiti) in Orissa.

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Company response
24 April 2016

Vedanta Response

Author: Vedanta Resources

“We completely reject the baseless allegations made against us and see this as an attempt to tarnish the image of a law abiding organization. Vedanta firmly believes in engaging with all of its stakeholders and we have a robust human rights policy in place that ensures the Group is fully committed to sustainable development principles including protecting human life, well-being and the environment. We always respect the rights of local communities where our operations are located and we remain committed to pro-actively work alongside them to include their concerns within a democratic framework.” We will also be grateful if you can visit http://sd.vedantaresources.com/SustainableDevelopment2014-15/building-strong-relationships/stakeholder-engagement.html and watch the video by Mr. Abhijit Pati, CEO, Aluminium, on the stakeholder engagement in Vedanta.

Vedanta also asked that we link to their response of Sept 2014 which can be accessed here.

 

 

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Article
10 April 2016

Prafulla Samantara Attacked By Vedanta Goons

Author: Campaign for Survival and Dignity in www.countercurrents.org

Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD) Odisha...condemned the attack on Activist Prafulla Samantara, President, Lok Shakti Abhiyan by Vedanta goons...It is to be noted that on 6th April 2016 PrafullaSamantra was assaulted by about 10 goons of Vedanta Company while he was returning from a meeting from Village Masiput inKoraput district. ..In a Press Release also Mr.Samantarahas shared that “I have been to give solidarity to the people of five villages who have been opposing mining over DangadeulaHill. They depend on this hill for grazing of their domestic animal,fuel wood, streams for water etc”. He alleged that the hired goons of Vedanta company also tried to kidnap...wherever I go, the Vedanta Company is following me and have engages miscreants and musclemen to attack me physically. This is nothing but criminalization of corporate regime. This is fourth time that Vedanta goons attempted physical attack on me.” 

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