Politicians, film artists and civil society across India have stepped up for the Lakshadweep community who have been fighting against the administrative changes brought by the newly-appointed Administrator Praful K Patel.
A set of modifications and new legislation from the administration came into effect last December. All of these were imposed without much consultation with the local self-governments or other stakeholders. The changes are putting the lives of people in a sorry state.
The issue gained national attention as many from Lakshadweep and Kerala started a social media campaign using the hashtag #SaveLakshadweep. One of the leading actors in the South Indian Film Industry Prithviraj Sukumaran, Malayalam actress and director Geethu Mohandas, One of the prominent young actors in the Malayalam industry Shane Nigam and actor Sunny Wayne, among others, have extended their solidarity through social media to the people of Lakshadweep.
“My first memories of this gorgeous little group of islands are from a school excursion when I was in my 6th grade. I remember being in awe of the turquoise waters and crystal clear lagoons. Years later, I was part of the crew that brought filmmaking back to the islands with Sachy’s Anarkali. I spent a good two months in Kavarati and made memories and friends for a lifetime”, tweeted Prithviraj who is being considered as the youth icon.
Lakshadweep – 36 islands renowned for its coral reefs and greenery, just over 64000 people who live in harmony with each other and nature, and the Arabian Sea, which provides and protects them –used to be the calmest and peaceful territory in India. Lakshadweep means ‘a hundred thousand islands’ in Malayalam, the most common language among the natives.
However, concerns are being raised on how Patel’s new regulations and reforms would impact these ‘trademarks’ of Lakshadweep.
While Mohammed Faizal of Nationalist Congress Party, the MP from Lakshadweep, says the protest is ‘against the ulterior motive of the Administrator to destroy the traditional life of islanders through wrongly drafted promulgations’ and not against the central government.
“The news from Lakshadweep is very serious. The situation there poses a challenge to the life and culture of the people inhabiting the island. Such moves are unacceptable,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Monday, May 24, during his daily press briefing.
VD Satheesan, the opposition leader in the Kerala Assembly, has also intervened, writing a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah. “After the appointment of the new Administrator in the island, breaking the convention of IAS officers to the post, the people of Lakshadweep are being subjected to many undemocratic measures against which a huge resentment is growing in the island,” he said in the letter.
MPs from Kerala across the political spectrum have also raised this issue to the central government. Elamaram Kareem, a member of Rajya Sabha from the CPI(M), was the first to write a letter to the President of India, demanding to call back the administrator from Lakshadweep. TN Prathapan MP(INC), Binoy Vishwam(CPI), and ET Muhammed Basheer(IUML) have also extended their solidarity to the people of Lakshadweep.
Here is a video of a native explaining what all are happening in Lakshadweep.