Extreme forms of State repression has resulted in a militant mass struggle at Narayanpatna in the Koratpur district of Odisha, according to a preliminary report of the Democratic Students' Union's fact-finding visit to Narayanpatna.
A team of students belonging to Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Indira Gandhi National Open University visited Narayanpatna from April 11-16 to study the ground situation and the socio-economic aspects of people of the region.
At a press conference organised to share the report findings, JNU student Ritupan said: “The tribals in Narayanpatna have been protesting against landlords and liquor traders with whom the State has connived. The struggle is also for radical redistribution of land. The non-tribal population has taken over a great deal of land. In our visit, it was evident that the identities of landlord, liquor trader, moneylender and politician are not separate or mutually exclusive.”
The landless peasants organised themselves under the banner of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha and led an active anti-liquor movement followed by an intensification of the land struggle. “In reaction, the State repression on the people was scaled up and large groups of paramilitary and security forces were deployed in the region. The Maoist bogey is often used to persecute and round up the people,” Ritupan alleged.
Speakers also pointed out that a village in Narayanpatna had rejected government schemes and the people had undertaken works under CMAS leadership. The CMAS reportedly gave a call to stop to all governmental projects to protest against the “atrocities by the state's forces” and demanding a halt to Operation Green Hunt.