They said they considered the mountain their god, a living deity that provided them with everything they required to sustain their lives. They said they would fight to the death before seeing the pristine mountain destroyed. Remarkably, they won their battle.
Last night, the tribal people of the Niyamgiri Hills in eastern India were celebrating after the authorities in Delhi ruled that a British-based company would not be permitted to mine there for bauxite.
Drawing a line under a "David-versus-Goliath" saga, India's environment minister acknowledged the potential human and social costs of the aluminium project that could have earned billions of pounds for Vedanta Resources Plc. "There has been a very serious violation of laws," Jairam Ramesh said. "Therefore, the project cannot go ahead."
In the state of Orissa, where the Niyamgiri Hills are located, Sitaram Kulesika, a senior member of the Dongria Kondh tribe, told activists by phone: "This is a great day for Kondhs. Mining would be the end of their existence and their god. We thank the Indian government."