What is Going on in Orissa?


Kerim blogged about the attack by the police on filmmaker Vinod Raja, in Orissa, for filming a peaceful protest. There was an attack on the Indian People’s Tribunal on Communalism earlier this month, by Hindutva thugs for recording testimonials. On our last trip to India, we met a professor from Utkal University who said that she receives phone calls and people have actually turned up at her house to threaten her. Her crime? she was an organizer of a seminar after the Gujrat violence, and teaches Women’s Studies, something the local Hindutva folks find objectionable. All the news out of Orissa makes it sound more and more like Mississipi in the Civil Rights era. A quick look at the Wikipedia entry for Orissa says its one of the poorest states, with one of the lowest rates of literacy and health care. Orissa has a substantial population of Adivasis and Dalits, generally the most marginalized and exploited sections of Indian society. A lot of the rural population is landless. In response, the the Maoist Guerilla movements have been growing in the countryside. Its an unfortunate situation for a place that has so much going for it.