How can we call a state democratic when the call of the entire population is deliberately ignored and just a single person deciding the fate entire region?
And this is happening in Lakshadweep where citizens are protesting for weeks against the arbitrary laws introduced by Praful Patel, administrator of Lakshadweep and sent to the home ministry for further approval.
On Monday 7th May, Islanders observed 12 hours hunger strike.
The proposed changes giving the administration unchecked power to arrest and put behind any citizens behind the bar for a year and that without trial. This is the anti-social Activities Regulation bill, 2021, or The Goonda Act on an island where the crime rate is much lower than any other state. The other law which citizens are protesting is Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021 (LDAR)
The draft gives the administrator powers to remove or relocate islanders from their property, for town planning or any developmental activity. The draft bill gives the government and its bodies arbitrary and unchecked power to directly interfere with an islander’s right to possess and retain their property.
The new proposal also includes the introduction of liquor shops on the islands, to fuel tourism, which thus far has been restricted owing to the majority Muslim population.
A change is also being brought about to the Panchayat regulations wherein those people having more than two kids would be unable to contest for any Panchayat elections. Among a string of changes, a beef ban has been proposed and non-vegetarian meals have been scrapped from the midday meals
A group of former bureaucrats in a letter to Primeminister alleges the draft regulations not only ignore the unique geography and community life of islands but also gives “arbitrary and draconian powers” to the administrator to acquire, alter, transfer and remove or relocate islanders from their property. They also pointed out that the Lakshadweep Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation (Goonda Act) is quite unwarranted and uncalled for.
In solidarity with the citizens of Lakshadweep, we are publishing the thoughts of Martin Luther King Jr, who throughout his life believed in people’s power, dissent and dreamed of a democracy that is dictated by its citizens.
A right delayed is a right denied.
A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.
Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a moulder of consensus.
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change.
There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamour of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.