On the 21st of November, 2010, a meeting was organized in Bhubaneswar by the leading leftist cultural magazine in Oriya, Nisan. The meeting was supported by several other left, Lohiaite and Gandhian groups. It was held under the banner of Nisan Sammelan — 2010 with a discussion on “CULTURAL RESISTANCE: WAR ON PEOPLE IN CORPORATE INTEREST.” Twenty-six tribal organizations participated in the meeting with each of them discussing problems that they are facing in the ongoing struggles in their regions. Incidents of police atrocities, rape, false arrests were made public in the meeting. The police in their bid to stop the tribals from reaching Bhubaneswar harassed them at several railway stations. A group comprising of thirty members which was supposed to come from Kashipur was arrested.
The groups unanimously decried the attempts by the State and capitalists to displace or alienate them from their resources and they shared their experiences of struggle in front of a gathering of about 5000 people. The tribal organizations called for intensifying solidarity efforts and a close coordination among various organizations to confront the state which has instrumentalised itself as the blatant political wing of corporate capital, branding all struggles for popular self-determination as Maoist.
The invited speakers included writer-activist Arundhati Roy, revolutionary Telugu poet Varavara Rao, Oriya novelist and short story writer Bibhuti Pattnayak, veteran journalist Rabi Das, poet Kumar Hasan, poet Rajendra Panda, advocate and human rights activist Biswapriya Kanungo and noted Gandhian Prafulla Samantara .
Arundhati Roy while arriving at the venue was greeted by about 7-10 ABVP cadres with black flags protesting against her visit. Tribals, with their lathis chased them away. It is noteworthy that all prominent local and national bourgeois newspapers have presented this local communal hooliganism against the Kashmiri struggle as a major incident.
In her speech Arundhati Roy, after facing the ABVP cadres outside, talked about patriotism nurtured in the struggles of indigenous peoples led by the anti-hegemonic forces of various ideological hues. Varavara Rao too spoke about the relevance of tribal struggles and drew an analogy between such struggles and anti-US imperialist struggles of the oil rich regions of the Middle East. He said that the tribal struggles were results of oppression of the state which wanted to take away whatever means of livelihood they had. He asked not to analyse these struggles just on the basis of their formal contours, rather they must be understood in terms of what provokes them. He spoke about the relevance of revolutionary violence which he interpreted to be a tool to fight structural violence of the system.
The speakers revealed the truth of peoples’ struggles and their spirit against the state’s insistence to “massacre every revolt that makes sense.”