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Serkepadhi (Muniguda): The palli sabha at Serkapadhi village registered strong opposition to the proposed bauxite mining by Vedanta and claimed religious and cultural rights on the entire Niyamgiri hills after three and a half hours of high drama today.

At the meeting, Dongria Kondh villagers, both men and women, spoke emotionally and angrily in the presence of the Rayagada district judge appointed as the independent observer.

Village head signs the palli sabha resolution after 3.5 hours of high drama. Image courtesy: Jay Mazoomdar

Village head signs the palli sabha resolution after 3.5 hours of high drama. Image courtesy: Jay Mazoomdar

Tempers soared midway when villagers insisted on scraping a report prepared by the state government limiting their community forest rights last week and later refused to sign the resolution.

As the deadlock continued, the judge at one point threatened to call off the day’s proceedings.

Finally, the Dongria Kondhs relented after the palli sabha resolution was amended to categorically record their claim over the entire Niyamgiri hills.

 

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