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8 Jan 2009

Merinews.net [India]

Niyamgiri Hills saved for the moment, but battle continues [India]

Vedanta...reportedly attempted to move in land-movers for constructing a road leading to the Niyamgiri mountain top [in Orissa, India] for mining of bauxite...Hundreds of tribals...laid siege along the unpaved forest road towards the sacred Niyamgiri...The spontaneous protest lasted throughout the day, with villagers returning to homes only after the vehicles retreated...Anil Agarwal, who owns Vedanta Resources, stat[ed] in a press conference on Monday that: “We have got the full clearance of the Supreme Court for bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri hills"...In addition to environmental concerns, [Vedanta's actions affect]...two of India's strongest Constitutional guarantees...: The right of a 'primitive tribal group' to their territorial integrity and to decide on their own path of development...and the right to religious practices and beliefs...