Orissa Bandh – a report

Satyabrata

A state-wide 12-hour bandh was observed on the 28th of November (Saturday) in Orissa to protest against the police firing on tribals and to condemn the killing of two Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) leaders in Narayanpatna. The protest demanded an immediate withdrawal of CRPF, Cobra and other paramilitary forces from the region and to grant compensation of 10 lakhs to the family of those dead. Several organizations, including, CPI(ML) (Liberation), CPI(ML) New Democracy, Orissa Forest Mazdoor Sangh, Malkanagiri Adivasi Sangh, CPI M-L, CMAS, Lok Sangram Manch, and many progressive activists took the initiative after the fact finding team on the Narayanpatna incident submitted its report.

On the 28th, several demonstrations were organised in the state, especially in Southern Orissa. There were protest rallies in Koraput. In Rayagada, several people organized by CPI(ML) (Liberation) were arrested for protesting and blocking a road. In Muniguda block, a road block was organized by Lok Sangram Manch. A huge protest demonstration was staged in Matili block of Malkanagiri. Here thousands of tribals came out on streets armed with their traditional weaponry. Four trains, including Rajdhani Express, were stranded at Bhubaneswar railway station for three hours due to the dawn-to-dusk protests.

In spite of state-wide protests, combing operations still continue in Narayanpatna and adjoining regions. Cobra battalions have been sent to adjoining Bandhugaon where activities of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh have throughout been peaceful. Media reports arrests of several ‘Naxals’. Police says ‘peace’ is being restored in the region and that people are no more sympathetic to the movement of CMAS. According to the police, several illiterate tribals have given in ‘writing’ that they won’t support the ‘Sangh activities’ any more. The government of Orissa has least regard for public opinion and the ‘opposition’ is also silent on this issue. They want to retain ‘order’ in the state of Orissa; but where order is injustice, disobedience will inevitably spring up to establish justice.

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