Niyamgiri: Playing the tribal card over the Vedanta issue, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that tribals’ voice has been muffled in the name of development and he is their soldier in Delhi who will fight for their cause.
Addressing a tribal rally near Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa`s Kalahandi district, the AICC general secretary said, “We are only fighting a survival war in Niyamgiri. The rejection of the mining project doesn`t mean that we are against any development."
“Tribals consider the hills of Niyamgiri as God and believe that their God is being attacked”, Rahul further said.
Hailing the Union Environment Ministry`s rejection of London-listed Vedanta group`s bauxite mining project in the area, Rahul said, “It is a victory of the people living here.”
He also praised the adivasis for protesting in a peaceful manner and not resorting to any violent means.
Wooing the huge number of tribals in the area, the Gandhi scion said the government at the Centre headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi are fully committed to the cause of the Dalits, poor and adivasis.
The UPA Government in Delhi listens to the voice of the poor. Development cannot be at the cost of the poor, Rahul said.
The Nehru-Gandhi scion`s visit to the backward Lanjigarh area comes at a time when Vedanta`s mining plan in Niyamgiri Hills, home to Dangaria and Kutia Kandha tribes, has suffered a body blow with Union Environment Ministry rejecting the stage-II clearance for its mining proposal on Tuesday.
Rahul had visited Lanjigarh area in March 2008. Tight security arrangements have been made in the area for Rahul`s visit with deployment of adequate force.