Adivasi residents from over 40 villages in Maliparvat area of Odisha prevented a HINDALCO public hearing from taking place on September 22, 2021. They were enraged after police personnel present at the spot tried to stop them from entering the venue.
On Wednesday morning, hundreds of villagers affected by the region’s mining-related activities found their path to the hearing blocked by police authorities. Officials threatened the villagers, who in turn rose in protest and kept the proceeding from taking place in their absence.
The hearing was regarding a fresh environmental clearance for the Aditya Birla Group’s Hindalco Industries Limited (HINDALCO) that claimed it received an extension of its mining lease for 50 years.
Speaking about the morning event, Lok Shakti Abhiyan President Prafulla Samantara said, “Hundreds villagers at Daliamba were prevented from heading to the venue and also at Kunduli. This is nothing but the administration’s repressive measures to disallow affected people from giving their opinion.”
According to sources, villagers retaliated in a fit of rage, stormed the hearing area and scared away concerned authorities.
Meanwhile, Samantara called the detention of the protesters, a conspiracy to turn the favour on the side of mining which will “seriously harm the climate and destroy perennial streams and forest protected by villagers.” For the last two weeks, members of the Maliparvat Suraksha Samiti claimed to suffer threats from HINDALCO agents, who were moving from village to village to discourage people from opposing the mining project.