Anti-Uranium activist Spelity Lyngdoh Langrin, who refused to sell her land to the Uranium Corporation of India (UCIL) to mine Uranium, breathed her last in her Domiasiat home on Wednesday night. She was 95 years old.
The nonagenarian has been suffering from various age-related diseases. Her family informed that doctors from the PHC in Wahkaji visited her, but she passed away at 11:30 pm on Wednesday.
Known as the ‘Iron Lady’, Spelity became a household name when she rejected a lucrative offer from the UCIL to sell her land after the Atomic Minerals Directorate had undertaken exploratory drilling for uranium deposits in 1993.
As she stood firm against selling her land to UCIL to mine Uranium, her words, “Money cannot buy me freedom,” had motivated locals against the “environmental ills” of uranium mining.
Meghalaya is the third uranium-rich state in the country after Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh. It has an estimated 9.22 million tonnes of uranium ore deposits.
In 2016, the Meghalaya government revoked its agreement to lease a land measuring 422 hectares in South West Khasi Hills to the UCIL.
A year later, UCIL also decided to temporarily close down its establishments in Meghalaya since the government-owned mining company did not receive mining lease and statutory permission from the state government.
Moreover, the Atomic Mineral Directorate stopped its exploratory drilling in South West Khasi Hills district after its officials were attacked and machines used for taking subsurface samples were also set on fire.
Meanwhile, the KSU tweeted and expressed grief over her demise.
“The matriarch withstood the onslaught of UCIL and its agents to forcibly mine uranium in Meghalaya,” the union said.
In a condolence message, Thma U Rangli Juki (TUR) said the organisation is indebted to Langrin for her courage and determination in opposing uranium mining in Domiasiat-Wahkaji area.
Other organisations including the Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO), Federation of Khasi Jaiñtia and Garo People (FKJGP) and others have also condoled the death of Langrin.