The state of Jharkhand is home to one of the largest Adivasi (tribal) populations in India. It is also the location of an estimated 40% of the country’s deposits of coal, iron ore, uranium and other minerals considered essential for India’s industrial and energy needs. Unfortunately for Jharkhand’s Adivasis, the mineral wealth lies beneath the land that they have farmed and hunted on for millennia but for which they do not hold title deeds.
As the original inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent, Adivasis have ancient land rights protected by law. But ‘in the national interest’ they are being forced to leave their ancestral lands to make way for new mines, steel mills and hydroelectric projects, with little or no compensation.