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15 Jul 2005

Kashipur, Rayagada district and nearby areas in southwest Orissa have been in the news for a number of bauxite mining and alumina refinery projects being set up by the Orissa government in association with various Indian and foreign mining companies. From the very beginning these projects faced persistent and militant resistance by the local people, largely tribal and scheduled caste. The resistance movements felt that these projects would result in large scale displacement, loss of livelihood and access to forest and water resources. This would further damage the already marginalized existence of the people. The projects would also cause large-scale ecological degradation through deforestation, water, air and soil pollution. The conflict reached a crisis in December 2000, when the police fired on anti-mining demonstrators, killing three and injuring many more. Even after the deaths, the police repression on the movement continued, as indicated by the findings of a PUDR team that visited Kashipur in 2001, and the reports published by various democratic rights groups from all over India. Over the last year, various reports mentioned intensified activity by the police and district administration including arrests, and general repression, as the government is adamant to push the projects through. A five-member team from PUDR conducted a fact finding, from 16 to 23 April 2005, to examine the reported ongoing police repression. We tried to examine people’s rights in the context of bauxite mining, land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation.

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