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India Must Investigate Abduction of Anti-Vedanta Activists

LONDON - The pair were abducted on 9 August in Orissa province, in the
east of India. One of the activists, Sana Sikaka, was ‘released' late
last night by being thrown out of a van, and has alleged that the gunmen
were police.  Lado Sikaka, the most senior leader of the Dongria Kondh
indigenous community, is still being held by the gunmen. 

Orissa provincial police have remained silent on who was responsible
for the abduction, and have not opened any investigation despite
requests by activists.

"This allegation of arbitrary detention and abduction of activists
must be immediately and transparently investigated," said Madhu
Malhotra, Amnesty International's Deputy-Director for the Asia-Pacific. 
"The Orissa police must show its good faith by securing the release of
Lado Sikaka, immediately tracking down and arresting these gunmen."

Sana Sikaka told local media today that he and a group of activists
were stopped by 15 armed plainclothes officers at the foothills of
Niyamgiri mountain, as they were leaving in a van to travel to Delhi,
where they planned to campaign against the bauxite mine project.  The
gunmen confiscated the mobile phones of activists and their vehicle.
They then detained Lado and Sana Sikaka, driving them towards the
neighbouring district of Rayagada where Sana suspects Lado is being

The Dongria Kondh indigenous community is known for their activism to
protect their sacred mountain Niyamgiri from the proposed bauxite-mine.

Amnesty International also urges the Indian authorities to establish a
process to seek the free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) of the
Dongria Kondh before proceeding with the proposed mine project in
Niyamgiri. This must include:

•    providing the Dongria Kondh with
accessible and adequate information about the project;
undertaking, in genuine and open consultation with the Dongria Kondh, a
comprehensive human rights and environmental impact assessment of the
project and providing appropriate procedural safeguards to ensure their
participation in the assessment process and that their knowledge and
perspectives of the Hills are given due weight and respect and;
respect the decision of the Dongria Kondh if they do not provide consent
to the project.


This work is part of Amnesty International's Demand Dignity
campaign which aims to end the human rights violations that drive and
deepen global poverty. The campaign will mobilise people all over the
world to demand that governments, corporations and others who have power
listen to the voices of those living in poverty and recognise and
protect their rights.


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