New Internationalist

Pull down St. Paul’s!

October 2008

British aid agency ActionAid recently put in an application to demolish London’s famed St Paul’s Cathedral. Their aim? To expose a British mining company’s plans to open a huge strip mine in the Niyamgiri sacred mountain in Orissa, India. Campaigner Brendan O’Donnell explains: ‘This is a David and Goliath struggle. We’ve applied to knock down St Paul’s to raise awareness of Vedanta Resources’ outrageous plan to destroy the Kondh’s spiritual home.’

The 8,000-strong Kondh group worship the mountain – which they believe is home to their god Niyam Raja – and strongly object to the plans, which will lead to massive deforestation and destruction of protected local ecosystems. ‘Just as Londoners wouldn’t tolerate the demolition of their cathedral to make a quick buck, so the Kondh won’t allow their treasured mountain and forests to be destroyed,’ says Brendan. ‘Vedanta’s investors should be appalled that their money is backing the desecration of a sacred Indian site and the destruction of forests on which people rely for food, clean water and a living.’

This column was published in the October 2008 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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