India: Adivasis & Dalit activists opposing Hindalco bauxite mining threatened and arrested; co. did not respond
The Adivasis and Dalit farmers of Odisha, India, have been resisting bauxite mining at their sacred shrine of Mali Parbat for more than two decades. The 2007 mining lease of Hindalco Industries expired after it operations were halted due to the tribe’s stiff resistance, but the company’s lease was extended by 50 years in April 2021. On September 22, 2021, hundreds of villagers gathered to protest during a public hearing concerning the company's application for new environmental clearances for mining.
The police arrested at least 28 tribal youth, and many anti-mining activists and members of the organisation Mali Parbat Surakhya Samiti were arrested in the following days, including G Hemant Kumar, Rabi Khora, Mahanta Khosla, Samba Pangi, Bhikari Guntha, Dambaru Guntha, Ratan Kadia, Bijaya Khila, Dasi Nandibali, Giridhar Khila, Gobardhan, Mangudu, and 16-year-old Bikram Khara. The secretary of the organisation, Abhi Sadepelli and his wife also reported death threats. Locals allege that officers and public authorities are favoring the company's interests, and claim that the arrests are in retaliation for protesting the violation of existing laws and procedures through peaceful means.
The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Hindalco Industries to respond; they did not.