Police in India’s Lakshadwip Island have accused a local filmmaker of rioting after he called a federal administrator a “bio weapon” used by the government against islanders.
The case against Aisha Sultana was registered at the police station in the capital’s capital’s Lakshadweip capital, Cavaradti, following a complaint by a local politician belonging to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatia Ata Anata party, Indian media reported on Friday.
The BJP’s complaint cited a Malayalam TV show in Lakshadwip about the government’s controversial plans, with Sultana saying the Modi government was using the island’s administrator, Praful Khoda Patel, as a “bio weapon”.
Lakshadweep police register FIR filmmaker Aisha Sultana on charges of hate speech after she said during a televised debate that the central government had deployed COVID-19 as a “biological weapon” against Lakshadweep residents
– ANI (@ANI) June 11, 2021
Patel, 63, is the first non-bureaucratic administrator in the Lakshadwip Islands and once served as interior minister in Gujarat, Moody’s hometown, when he was India’s prime minister for more than a decade.
The Lakshadwip Islands, popular with Aks tourists, are run by an administrator appointed by the President of India.
Since taking office in Lakshadwip in December last year, Patel has pushed A set of new laws and proposals – without consulting local authorities – In India’s only Muslim-majority area other than Indian-administered Kashmir.
Lakshadweep is an idyllic archipelago of 36 islands, 10 of which are inhabited by 32 square kilometers of sea, about 200 km (124 miles) off the southwest coast of the Indian subcontinent.
It is the smallest of India’s eight Union Territories (UTs), home to 65,000 people – 97 percent of whom are now afraid of losing their land, livelihoods and other rights as the government supports plans to develop the remote archipelago. tourist hub.
The new proposed urban development laws to pave the way for town tourism, luxury housing and deep mining projects will allow Patel to remove or relocate islanders from development areas, declaring the land a “planning” area.
Other controversial proposals include banning the slaughter of cows and authorizing more drinking licenses, which are seen as insulting to local Islamic religious sentiments. The sale and consumption of alcohol is currently banned in the islands.
Other proposals include disqualifying people with more than two children from village council elections. The administration may also imprison any person without trial for up to one year, according to Patel.
Sultana is among thousands of islanders who visit social media as COVID-19 curbs prevent them from taking to the streets to protest.
COVID crisis in the islands
In a Facebook post, Sultana defended her outburst against Patel on the TV show.
“I used the word ‘bio weapon’ in the debate on TV channels. I felt both Patel and his policies [have acted] “as a bio-weapon,” he wrote.
“It was through his entourage that COVID-19 spread to Lakshadwip. I compared Patel as a bio-weapon, not the government or the country. You have to understand. What else can I call him? ”
Lakshadweep was left without a coronavirus throughout 2020 for the rigorous protocol needed with its poor health infrastructure, with only three hospitals on 10 inhabited islands.
Patel is accused of exacerbating the COVID-19 crisis in Lakshadweep by changing the quarantine protocol in January, allowing anyone to enter the islands with a negative RT-PCR report received 48 hours before their trip.
One week after the change of rules, the area reported its first coronavirus on January 17. As of Thursday, the island had more than 9,000 cases and more than 40 deaths, according to Maktoob.
Aisha Sultana Lakhadweep Film Director:
– Chhotubhai Vasava (Chhotu_Vasava) June 10, 2021
The Twitter campaign launched by the students has aroused great interest in the Indian subcontinent, where #SaveLakshadweep is supported by prominent politicians, including the main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi.
This week, a group of residents, the Save Lakshadweep Forum, went on a one-day hunger strike to protest new land acquisition plans that have raised fears of evicting some 65,000 islanders.
“For generations we have lived a quiet life, we have rarely protested against the policies of the continent. But if they take my land and my house, where will we all go?” My fisherman Sakaria, who uses one name, said on the phone.
Like many local fishermen, his only property is the family home his grandfather built on a 1,000-square-foot (93-square-foot) plot of land near the beach in the island’s capital, Cavaratti.
“This is not a big city where people can move nearby. For us, it will probably mean moving to the mainland. How can we allow someone to take our homes? ” he said.
The protesters also fear that the plans could strain the islands’ already limited public services, which include lack of clean drinking water, health care and access to the mainland.
Lakshadweip police have charged filmmaker Aisha Sultana with rioting for the government’s use of Praful Khoda Patel as a “bio weapon” against people. This is an abuse of the law on insurgency. BJP destroys Lakshadweep և bulldozes anyone who raises their voice against it.
– Dr. Shama Mohamed (@drshamamohd) June 11, 2021
Lakshadweep administrator Praful Patel did not respond to a request for comment, but another senior official, collector S. Akers Ali, recently told reporters that the goal was to develop the islands “completely” into the welfare of the people.
But distrust and anger at the Hindu nationalist government are widespread among most Muslims.
The recent destruction of fishermen’s beach huts by the authorities has only fueled distrust, says K. Nizamuddin, which belongs to the Kovarati self-governing body and is being reviewed as a “smart city” in development plans
Nizamuddin said part of the problem was that residents were not properly informed about the plans.
“We have not been consulted, most of the islanders are unaware of what the future holds. “If drastic changes are expected, they should be told about it,” he said.
“There should be a place in a smart city for traditional livelihoods like local fishermen and animal husbandry. Instead, authorities smashed fishermen’s ponds on the beach, saying it violated the norm. So there is distrust. “
In solidarity with Aysha Sultan. Voices of dissent can not be suppressed by using rebellion. pic.twitter.com/kiwRL9R2z6:
– Այշե (ঐশী) (@aishe_ghosh) June 11, 2021
According to the draft charter pushed by Patel, residents will also have to get planning permission before making even minor changes to their homes, says lawyer R. Rohit.
“In other regions, it may seem that the government is acquiring land for projects such as road construction, but in the islands it is simply not done,” Rohit said, referring to laws aimed at protecting the rights of islanders to a fragile ecosystem.
Last month in Kerala, the legislature of a state near the continent passed a motion to remove Patel և to protect people’s livelihoods.
“We have lived on this small piece of land for decades. We know the impact of this ecological disruption best of all. Officials should listen to us, “said fisherman Sakaria.