Lakshadweep residents observe ‘black day’ to protest administrator Patel’s visit to island
Thiruvananthapuram: Residents of Lakshadweep observed a black day to protest against the week-long visit of administrator Praful Khoda Patel who arrived in the archipelago on Monday.
The Save Lakshadweep Forum, a body of all political parties, urged people to mark the day by hoisting black flags, and wearing black dress and masks to express their anger against the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation (LDAR) 2021, which it believes would destroy the culture and tradition of the island. They also raised placards seeking the recall of the administrator and roll back of the new rules.
The Save Lakshadweep Forum said it will continue its protest till its demands are met.
“We observed a black day to protest against Patel’s visit. Despite mounting protests, he is in a denial mode and continues to antagonise people. We are ready to call off the protests if he hears us properly and withdraws some of the controversial decisions,” forum convenor UCK Thangal said, adding that the forum will adopt different modes of protest in the coming days if the administrator ignores their demands.
In a recent interview to an English magazine, Patel had said that the troubles in the island were incited by a section of people with vested interests from Kerala. He said in the last seven decades, the island had failed to develop unlike the rest of the country.
Patel added that the Centre had announced a number of steps to improve the infrastructure of the island - ₹1,200 crore was earmarked for an underwater optical fibre cable, Kavaratti would be developed as a smart city and Agatti airport runway would be widened for wide-bodied aircraft to land.
For over a month, residents of the archipelago have been protesting against the three draft regulations brought in by the administrator over fears that it will affect the unique culture and tradition of the island. Last Monday, the residents in the island had observed a hunger strike from morning to evening as a mark of protest. Two weeks ago, the Kerala assembly had passed a resolution seeking the recall of the administrator.
Aisha Sultana moves HC for bail
Meanwhile, filmmaker and model Aisha Sultana moved the Kerala high court, seeking anticipatory bail in a sedition case filed against her by Lakshadweep Police.
Police had registered the case, among other charges, against her two days ago after she allegedly called Patel a bio-weapon launched by the Union government during a TV discussion recently.
The case, which was filed on the basis of a complaint by Lakshadweep BJP chief C Abdul Khadar Haji, was registered under Section 124 (A) of the Indian Penal Code among other sections by Kavaratti police.
In his complaint, Haji cited a recent debate on ‘Media One’, a Malayalam news channel, in which Sultana reportedly called the new administrator a bio-weapon. He said her words were in bad taste and intended to create hatred and aversion in the minds of people.
In her bail plea, Sultana, who is now staying in Kochi, said she feared her arrest if she returned to the island. The high court is expected to take up her plea on Tuesday.