State Repression in Orissa: A No-Escape Situation?


This is the most repressive period in the history of Orissa.

Troops have been deployed in Koraput regions for the enforcement of Operation Greenhunt. The State Government of Orissa has asked for more troops to the Central Government so that it can deal wit the “left-extremists”. Already, in the preparatory phase of this repressive period, the State Government has been arresting leaders of several movements calling them ‘Maoists’. The intentions of the State Government can be seen clearly if one engages critically with what it has been doing of late. Abhay Sahoo and Biswajit Ray of POSCO movement were arrested with false cases in their names. There has been no militant incident in the POSCO movement in spite of the torturous attitude of the Police and pro-POSCO goons in the region. The CM has declared, with no respect for democratic voices, that the “POSCO-problem” will be solved by April 10, situations will be POSCO-favouring. One can judge what effect this statement shall have on the people that have been resisting the POSCO project. If they resist it with arms, there is the always available “Maoist” tag, if they don’t, things are easy – in the former case there is Operation Greenhunt to deal with the movement and in the later case, the police and the local goons shall suffice.

Recently in Narayanpatna of Koraput, a completely democratic mass movement was crushed with murders and arrests in the name of dealing with Maoists. K. Singana and Andrew Nachika of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh were murdered, Gananath Patra was arrested as a threat to national security and Tapan Mishra was arrested being branded as a Maoist. The same movement still continues in other regions of Koraput like Bandhugaon, etc and Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh leads them too. Now troops are being deployed in the regions to deal with Maoists. In Narayanpatna one incident of ousting landlords and liquor traders started the whole series of repressive steps that the State took resulting in the brutal crushing of the movement. The State’s killing machine only needs alibi to kill without which its normal repression is sufficient to crush any movement. The movements of this region have no way out. If they don’t take to arms, landlords and local militia shall crush them; if they do, Operation Greenhunt shall gun them down. The movements shall conclude in the State’s desired form of conclusion with the restoration of the status quo.

Bhubaneshwar, the State’s capital, lacks the basic organization of intellectuals and activists who can raise voices on behalf of the oppressed in the villages and the media is drunk with hegemonic liquor and stands with complete indifference and apathy to the movements.

The movements against Vedanta, the Niyamgiri movement – all are skeptical of what fate they are destined to face under the present circumstances. Troops upon troops are being employed in the regions of movements to “deal” with them. The basic problem from the perspective of the movements is that they have not been able to go beyond territorial limitations and have not generalized their movements to create an inter-movemental political space that could challenge the State at the same time taking the movements ahead.

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