“True development takes place by respecting interests of the poor and tribals and not by muffling their voice," said the Congress General Secretary.
The charismatic Gandhi addressed a tribal rally marking 'Adivasi Adhikar Diwas' (Rights Day) in Jagannathpur village, located at the foothills of Niyamgiri hills on Thursday, Aug 26.
“In my religion, all are equal — whether it is rich or poor, dalits or adivasis. Wherever an individual"s voice is being stifled, that is against my religion," he said, promising to fight their battles as their "soldier" at Delhi.
“This is your victory. It is a victory of your voice, it is a victory of the adivasis," said Rahul Gandhi invoking loud cheers from the gathering.
Gandhi's visit came just days after the Union Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, rejected environment clearance to UK-based Vedanta"s $1.7 billion mining project in the Nyamgiri hills citing violation of forest and environment laws.
While the environmentalists have hailed the government's move, several voices of criticism have been raised that the decision would block the development of Orissa.