#VedantaAGM: Here’s why I’m going to the demo

Today is the Annual General Meeting at Vedanta Resources, where the company gets to speak to its shareholders directly, and the shareholders get to talk back. Since I came to London, this has been the one cause I support enough to stand on the street shouting once a year.

If you’ve followed me you might have seen a lot in my stream but here’s some links, put into one place, for easier digestion.

Attempts to mine Niyamgiri hill, where the Dongria Kondh live. The Indan constitution guarantees tribal peoples the right to the land they live in.

Ridiculous corporate governance. The company dumps fly ash and poisons whole forests unchallenged. Here’s a recording of a local Oriya TV station reporting 5 days ago.

None of the media here pick up these stories anymore, it’s all about the money they are making as a FTSE 100 company. Even on the Guardian website.

Anil Agarwal, the owner, is a big sponsor to the first Hare Krishna state school in the UK. (Yes, it’s not Hindu. It’s a Hare Krishna school.)

He has also tried to get land belonging to an ancient temple in Puri, Orissa, under the guise of building a university, but really to mine its resources.

Anil Agarwal pays political parties out of the company coffers, keeps control of the company within his family through , to the point where a responsible shareholder watchdog PIRC recommends to shareholders to not vote him back in as CEO.

I care about all this because: It’s now been proven that, if allowed, he would have entirely razed the forests of Orissa. He does not care for temples, tribals, or what comes after him. In the same time, the Hare Krishnas believe him when he says he does it all to make money for Krishna, so they give him credibility when dealing with Hindu politicians, allowing him to get more power and more credibility.

They are planning for 5 more Krishna Avanti schools. I want people to realise what’s behind that. If the Hare Krishnas decide to support him – fine, but they should be known for being an organisation that values money over everything else.

I want everyone reporting about ‘the first Hindu state school in the UK’ to know these connections.


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