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Hindalco Challenged at its Corporate office in Mumbai - Hindalco Urged to Withdraw from Mining Opera

Published by MAC on 2005-05-12

Hindalco Challenged at its Corporate office in Mumbai - Hindalco Urged to Withdraw from Mining Operations in Kashipur

May 12th, 2005

Kashipur Support Group, Mumbai.

Kashipur Support Group demanded the Hindalco company to immediately withdraw from all mining activities from the tribal areas of Kashipur, Orissa. This was conveyed to the company today at a protest march at its corporate headquarters in Worli, Mumbai.

Hindalco, a Birla company, is part of a consortium of private companies collectively known as UAIL (Utkal Alumina International Ltd) that was formed to initiate a project to extract bauxite ores and produce alumina. The project area is chiefly occupied by adivasis and dalits. This project, if executed will lead to large-scale displacement and loss of livelihood for these people. The Norwegian development agency, NORAD, has estimated that about 60000 people will be displaced by this project. The people of Kashipur have been opposing the project since its inception.

Representatives of different organisations, students and concerned citizens formed the hours-long protest in front of Hindalco. They sang songs, held placards and distributed leaflets to the general public highlighting the human rights violations, and social and environmental impacts of bauxite mining in the area.

In 2001, police fired at unarmed tribal protesters killing 3 people and since then the area witnessed large-scale police presence and repression. On December 01, 2004, Orissa police launched a brutal lathi charge on 400 adivasis, mostly women, who had gathered to peacefully protest against the inauguration of a new road to a proposed bauxite-mining site in Baphlimali owned by ALCAN (a Montreal based multi national company). As a result, 16 people were critically injured and three women were beaten unconscious. Since this incident, we understand that Kashipur, a seat of resistance against bauxite mining, has been in a state of virtual siege. Platoons of armed police with firing orders have occupied Kucheipadar village - the centre of the struggle.

The protesters also delivered an open letter to the Hindalco Company, to withdraw from Kashipur area and allow the indigenous people to decide over their future and livelihood. They further demanded immediate withdrawal of police force and all responsible for the police firing on innocent people be punished according to law.

Kashipur Support Group is an informal group of concerned organisations and individuals in Mumbai.

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