Amid the rising anger against the new administrational changes in Lakshadweep, Malayalam actor and filmmaker Prithviraj Sukumaran has posted his views with regards to the islands and the people there. Narrating his experiences of visiting the islands as a child and later for his films, Prithviraj writes about the wonderful people he has met in Lakshadweep and how they are now unhappy with the decisions of the new administration.
Praful Patel took charge as Administrator in December 2020 and has since introduced a slew of reforms, such as a change in COVID-19 protocol (Lakshadweep had earlier recorded no cases at all for a long time), banning of non-vegetarian food in schools, and widening of roads where vehicles are few, to name some. These have not gone down well with the people of the islands.
A number of posts and tweets with the hashtag 'SaveLakshadweep' have popped up in the last few days, against the appointment of Praful Patel as Lakshadweep Administrator and the changes he has brought to the status quo. Prithviraj, actor-filmmaker Geetu Mohandas and footballer CK Vineeth joined the voices, asking for justice for the people of Lakshadweep.
"For the last few days, Iâ€™ve been getting desperate messages from people I know and do not know from these islands, requesting and sometimes even pleading for me to do what I can to bring public attention to what is going on there," writes Prithviraj on Facebook. He does not write about the reforms brought in by Patel except calling them 'bizarre' but says that any such changes should be for the people.
In his post, Prithviraj further asks how it could be considered progress if a peaceful way of life is disrupted and urges whoever it may concern to listen to the voice of the people. "When an entire community is unhappy with decisions taken by a nominated authority, upon whose posting the people there had no say, and they vociferously bring it to the attention of the world and their government, I would like to think there is no way other than to act on it."
His film Anarkali directed by the late Sachy had brought filming back to the islands in 2015. Prithviraj's own directorialâ€“sequel to his film Luciferâ€“ was filmed there as well.
Another prominent Malayalee to post about the Lakshadweep issue is footballer CK Vineeth. In a thread of tweets, he writes about the issues on the islands in the last few days, including the "reforms."
"Does anyone really know about everything that's going on in Lakshadweep now? The little island off the coast is one of the most beautiful places I have been to, but administrative injustices have served the citizens a taste of bad fortune," begins Vineeth's thread.
Explaining the changes which have been put into effect by the new Administrator including the â€˜scrapping of rulesâ€™ to contain COVID-19 and banning non-vegetarian food in schools, Vineeth says these were extremely unfair.
In further tweets, he claims that Praful K Patel went on to enforce the Gunda Act on the island where police stations have very little crime to deal with and the jails are empty.
Does anyone really know about everything that's going on in Lakshadweep now? The little island off the coast is one of the most beautiful places I have been to, but administrative injustices have served the citizens a taste of bad fortune. A thread. #SaveLakshadweep pic.twitter.com/nXwE1zZdLyâ€” CK Vineeth (@ckvineeth) May 24, 2021
He then asks what we could do about it. "Do we turn a blind eye? Or do we step back and take notice. Of all the places I've traveled to, Lakshadweep has some of the nicest people I've met. They do not deserve this."
Actor-filmmaker Geetu Mohandas who shot her film Moothon in Lakshadweep also posted with the Save Lakshadweep hashtag. "I shot 'Moothon' in Lakshadweep. One of the most magical places with the most beautiful people I have ever met in my life. My heart goes out to each and everyone who reached out to me. Their cries were desperate, real. There is not much we can do apart from voicing our opinion collectively. Please do not disturb their peace, disrupt their ecosystem, their innocence. Not in the name of development. I hope it reaches the right ears."
Other actors followed suit later. Sunny Wayne wrote on Facebook, "With my Brothers and sisters!! #savelakshadweep."
Actor Rima Kallingal posted, "Hard to believe that this has been the priority of a countryâ€™s government when their whole population is fighting one of the biggest virus attacks this generation will see. The complete disregard for the Lakshadweep people, their beliefs and their livelihood is scary." She attached the letter written by Member of Parliament Elamaram Kareem to the president, against the 'authoritarian rule' of the Administrator of Lakshadweep.
Other actors like Rajisha Vijayan, Shebin Benson, Ansiba Hassan and director Jubith Namradath also voiced support for the people of Lakshadweep.