After seven days, tribals protesting mining on iron ore deposit number 13 in Bailadila in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district called off their protest on Thursday for a 15-day period. This comes after the SDM, Dantewada, issued a notice to Sanyukt Sarpanch Jansangharsh Samiti — which is spearheading the movement — asking them to vacate the protest site or face legal consequences.
Raju Bhaskar, a member of the Samiti, said they had not given up the protest under pressure, and had merely given the administration 15 days to fulfill its promises. “We have agreed to the 15-day timeline which the government has asked for to inquire into the gram sabha permissions for deposit number 13. Therefore, we are calling off the protest for now, but if nothing is done, we will decide the next course of action,” he said.
Thousands of tribals have been protesting at Bailadila and Kirandul against proposed mining in deposit number 13. The mine is owned by NCL, a joint venture of NMDC and CMDC, and the mining contractor is Adani Enterprises Limited. The tribals say they are opposed to the mining because the hill on which deposit 13 is based is home to Pithormeta or Pithor Rani, the wife of the deity of Nandraj.
After five days of protests, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel had announced inquiries into the felling of trees and the gram sabha’s permission for the mining. The Sanyukt Jansangharsh Samiti has alleged that the gram sabha never gave permission for the mining.