The origin of the Covid 19 virus is disputed, but the origin of the Saffron virus which is politically known as ‘Hindutva’ and infecting Lakshadweep can be traced to the headquarters of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The carrier of the virus is the present administrator of the island. Meanwhile, the genetic characteristics of this virus were found in Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy…
_ Rejaz M Sydeek

Crystal clear rich blue lagoons and green woody aerial view knock into our brain when Lakshadweep, an archipelago of 36 islands, out of which only 10 are inhabited comes into our mind. Malayalam movie, Anarkali has given us a virtual tour of Lakshadweep and throws up some light about the life of islanders. The island with a literacy rate of 93% has a population of around 70,000 with a majority of Muslims, is one of the peaceful places in India. But after the appointment of the new Administrator for the Island on 05-12-2020, the colours Blue and green are fading and turning into Saffron! Yes, Lakshadweep is under the clutches of Privatisation / Colonisation by corporates brokered under the dictatorship of the administrator who is powered by the Fascist Hindutva Organisation, RSS!

Who is saffronising Lakshadweep and why is it important to raise our voice and clench our fist for Lakshadweep against the Draconian Fascist laws of Brahmanic India? The new Administrator of Lakshadweep is Praful Khoda Patel. Usually, Civil Service officials/ Bureaucrats are appointed as administrators, but for the first time in the history of Union Territories, Modi politically appointed the BJP leader Praful as the administrator of 3 Union Territories. Praful who is also the present Administrator of Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu was the former Home Minister of Gujarat under Narendra Modi cabinet when Amit Shah was removed as Home Minister and jailed in Soharabbudin Fake Encounter Case.

The Appointment of Praful by Modi raised suspicion among the islanders and the present scenario clearly explains the Hindutva agenda of the administrator. The arrival of the carrier of Hindutva Virus, Praful which was fatal than the Covid virus badly affected the health scenario of the island. The island which has no advanced medical facilities is dependent on Kerala and follows strict health protocols and guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus. It was the precautions taken by the former administrator, Late Dineshwar Sharma IPS and the active participation and cooperation of the islanders, that the island was able to be a Covid Free island with 0 cases in 2020. But after Praful’s arrival, rules and quarantine protocols were changed by him and gave a permit to outsiders to enter the island without quarantine.

The standard operation protocol which strictly orders a visitor to be in 7 days quarantine at Kochi before entering and 14 days quarantine after entering the island was removed by the administrator. Now the SOP just requires RTPCR negative certificate from the visitors! This hardcore RSS member is responsible for the 7,364 Covid cases ( TPR is above 60 per cent) and 30 deaths on the island which has a population of only 70,000. Earlier just the authorization of a doctor or medical officer was needed for emergency medical evacuation to Kochi by air but thanks to Praful, now permission from a 4 member Committee team consisting of 1 chairman and 3 members is required initially and final permission will only be granted by the advisor of the administrator. This can lead to the delay of an evacuation which can also lead to the death of a patient. Most shockingly the administrator has even privatised the air ambulances of the island. What else can we expect from the Government which has failed to supply oxygen, arrange sufficient beds, ventilators and provide health access to the poor during this Covid Pandemic do, other than privatising everything including human rights? Praful even threatened to arrest nurses who were protesting for salary. Not only the health scenario was changed by Praful, but he’s also MODIfying the social, cultural, economic and political ground of the island.

Lakshadweep was a liquor-free territory until Praful came and in name of tourism, he gave a permit for liquor on the island. The administrator who is from Gujarat perhaps might have forgotten that Gujarat itself is a Liquor free state. The Muslim community which is in majority strongly opposes the permit given for liquor citing that it would disturb the island. Permitting liquor on the island is to help the corporates who are eyeing the island for resorts. Bhakts who questions the islanders citing Freedom of an Individual in wake of protest against liquor permit should read the next sentence. Yes, your mother, GoMatha is also going to be banned to be on the plates of Lakshadweep which has 64% of beef consumers! Praful must-visit BJP governed northeast states for food hunting where beef is not banned and is widely consumed. Apart from the proposal of Animal Preservation Regulation Draft to ban the slaughter of cows, calves, bulls and bullocks, transportation, storing, selling or buying beef products will jail you from 10 years to life imprisonment and fine up to 5 lakh rupees. Imprisonment for violating the beef ban will be 7 years and the slaughter of other animals for religious purposes demands a certificate from the authorities.

It’s not only the food habit which will be affected but also the livelihood of people who depend on slaughterhouses, meat business and hotels. Can we expect the island people whose main livelihood is fishing to be vegetarian? The administrator’s fascism even touched the doors of school kitchens. The new rule prohibits the serving of any meat for the school students which was part of their menu.

38 Anganawadis were shut down and orders are given to shut down 15 schools. More than thousands of people’s jobs were directly affected because of the administrator. Apart from dismissing the Kitchen staffs, Teachers & school staff were also dismissed from educational institutions. About 500 employees of the tourism development society were sacked. Islanders who were working in the sports department and other government departments were also dismissed. About 200 contract staff who were working as marine watchers for conserving marine biodiversity are also expelled. The dictator even didn’t leave the fishing Community of the island, he gave the order to demolish fishermen’s sheds built on the coastal areas used for storing their equipment and boats saying that they violated the Coastal Regulation Zone and Coast Guard Act and the demolition drive was carried out even without giving them any notice or time to shift their property.

Destroying the properties of their primary occupation at the time of the Covid Pandemic is to drain them economically. The administration gave the authority of ship service from Lakshadweep Development Corporation limited to Shipping Corporation of India. This will affect the employment of about 1000 people residing in Lakshadweep and Kochi. Amidst the economic and employment crisis on the island and prohibition of construction activities, the mansion of Praful Patel is under renovation. The 3-year-old mansion allowed for Administrators is under construction that too according to the personal architecture plan of Praful Patel, looting 2 crores from taxpayers. When Modi Saab is spending more than 10,000 crores for Central Vista during this economical crisis, there is no wrong with spending 2 crores for his puppet.

Surprisingly Praful also ordered to shut down the government dairy farms. Veterinary Surgeons were given May 31st as the deadline to auction all the animals of the dairy. But the auction which was scheduled for yesterday didn’t take place as islanders as a protest didn’t participate in the auctions. The closing down of the dairy farms not only lead to the sudden unemployment of the dairy farmworkers and labourers who are dependent on it but also affects the supply of milk to the islanders. This forces the islanders to depend on private companies for dairy products. The trusted lieutenant of Modi, Praful has opened the doors of the island to Gujarat based Amul after closing down the dairy farms. Amul products have reached the island and are stored inside the Kavarathi Cooperative Society. In short, Praful wants the islanders only to buy Amul products and drink Amul milk. The administration has not given any explanation or economical justifications for closing down the government farms. The reason behind this is to make the pockets heavier of business groups based in BJP governed states. The administration mandated that the islanders should depend on Mangalore port in Karnataka which is ruled by BJP instead of Beypore port in Kerala for freight transit. The change in cargo route led to the unemployment of labourers working in Kochi and Beypore. The simping for corporates and hatred towards the non-Sangh Parivar state is evident here and these drafts are a form of testament for Gujarat Based business lobbies who are aiming to build resorts and privatise the life of islanders.

Being an RSS member itself is like having a membership in a proto Fascist/Terrorist organisation. Praful who is also the son of RSS leader, Khodabhai Ranchhodbhai Patel was booked for the suicide of 7 times Dadra and Nagar Haveli Member of Parliament Mohan Delkar, who had accused Praful in his 15-page suicide note. Mohan Delkar who belonged to Scheduled Tribe Community accused Praful, BJP, Local Administration, Police, Bureaucrats, Goons and Investigating agencies of threatening him with a fabricated case under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act and also demanded 25 crores in exchange. Mohan opposed BJP for exploiting the tribes and other people under his constituency. Currently, Praful is named in the FIR and this Hindutva terrorist is now talking about the new law for tackling so-called terrorism on an island that has only 3 murder cases since 1956!

Whenever Draconian laws are introduced by the state, the young blood of that land will arise in rage against the state. To crush the dissent against the administrator and to prevent a political uprising, Praful proposed the “Lakshadweep Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation” (PASA) Draft on the island which has the least crime rate in India (supported by National Crime Records Bureau). This law can imprison a person for up to 1 year without any trial and this is meant against NRC CAA protestors. When Praful became furious after seeing anti-NRC CAA banners on the island, he ordered to arrest the people behind it. Yesterday media reported that the central government has started primary steps for CAA, so it’s clear that this Goonda Act is to crush the revolutionary spirit of the island which strongly stood against the NRC-CAA.

The flimsy excuses used by BJP spokespersons in support of the goonda Act is that Drugs, Weapons and ammunition were seized from/near the island. The fact is that weapons and drugs were seized from a Sri Lankan boat with Sri Lankan natives who transported drugs from Iran to Sri Lanka and had no connection with Lakshadweep. How can islanders hold responsible for whatever things happening in the Arabian Sea?

BJP and RSS are trying to tarnish Lakshadweep as a hub of Drugs and Terrorism since 99 percent of the inhabitants are Muslims and this would make a good headline because of the demographics which is Islamophobic for the right-wing public conscience. Using the story of terrorism, Kashmir was destroyed similarly using the story of drugs, the island is going to be under Police Raj. The critics of the goonda Act are slammed as Left Jihadi sympathisers by the Sangh Parivar. Recently 4 youngsters including minors were detained for sending WhatsApp messages to the administrator and one of the messages was just ‘Hi’!. 12 Congress workers were also remanded for 7 days for protesting against the Lakshadweep collector, Asker Ali who supported the propaganda of Sangh Parivar. Non-bailable charges were slapped on them and since there is no jail on their island, they are held in a hall. Asker Ali who is staying in a bungalow with 55,000 rupees as rent instead of the official bungalow was shamelessly defending the Administration. Asker told to media that the island is well equipped with medical and health facilities to fight the virus but last day an official doctor told the island is facing shortages of medicines and doesn’t have proper facilities. The so-called patent holder of development, the Administrator is not even talking about the absence of oxygen plant on the island. Local news online channels were also blocked on the initial days of protest and the first online portal of the island, Dweep Diary was one among them.

Are the new laws or proposal by the administrator discussed among the elected representatives of the island? No! In the so-called democratic country, the representatives are not only detained in preventive custody but also not made part of its activities since these representatives don’t simp for ruling class ideas. Even 8 leaders of the BJP have resigned in protest against the new Draconian laws. There are 10 Panchayats and 1 district council in Lakshadweep and the powers of Lakshadweep Panchayat are curtailed and is directly given to the administration regarding Education, Health, Fisheries and Agriculture and Animal Husbandry. The most ridiculous draft proposed by the administrator is the Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulation Act. LPRA says those who have more than 2 children won’t be eligible to participate in local body elections. Population Foundation of India slammed the administrator that the draft is illogical since the Island has a low Total Fertility Rate (TFR). The same dictator’s party leaders are asking the Hindu community to reproduce more children and are offering money for increasing the population. Please note that, out of 303 BJP MPs, 96 members have 3 or more children.

“This is your land… Don’t leave this place …Don’t die…you should live”, this is a dialogue from the Malayalam movie, Unda which Mammootty says to an Adivasi Father whose son is detained by Police after accusing him to be a Maoist. In Hindutva India, the Land of Muslims, Adivasi, Dalits and other Minorities are snatched away from them with the muscle power of armed forces of Government who are the suppressing tools of the oppressors. Sometimes we doubt whether they are mercenaries or private armies of corporates because of their actions. Under the cover of constitution, democracy, nationalism and development, the Indian Government has encroached on lands of Kashmir, Adivasi areas and now Lakshadweep using the power of “Law”.

Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation (LDAR) draft 2021 says that land properties of the islanders (94.8% belongs to Scheduled Tribes) can be seized irrespective of ownership for any developmental project by the administration and the administration has complete power to alter and modify that rule. This gives free hand power to seize away the land of common people. The Administration has plans to take over the land as part of the township project, but even after the takeover, the government will allow the people of Lakshadweep to stay there with a special permit. If the permit is not renewed on time, the first fine is Rs 2 lakh and if the fine is not paid within the stipulated time, people will have to pay Rs 20,000 per day to the Administration.

The arbitrary powers of the administration can even forcibly relocate entire islanders from one island to another island. Lakshadweep which has only an area of 32km has only a few vehicles and isn’t it ridiculous that the administration is planning to widen the roads to 7 metres? Widening the roads will lead to the eviction of houses, demolition of properties. The widening of the road is not for the Lakshadweep people, but for the movement of vehicles meant for corporate activities as we see in Bastar. In Bastar In name of development roads are constructed but not for the tribals but the corporate mining companies. LDAR which allows the administration to select any land for development (mining, quarrying, highway roads) will lead to the destruction of the rich flora and fauna of the island. If Quarries and mining are allowed on the island, Lakshadweep will be under the Arabian sea.

Now recently the lease rate of land in Lakshadweep was reduced by the administration to help the corporates! Former Administrator of the island, Omesh Saigal IAS wrote a letter to Amit Shah criticising Praful and his reforms citing that the proposals will only negatively affect the island. Omesh added that Lakshadweep should not be compared with the Maldives and the Indian UT should be developed on basis of Sea development authority since islanders rely on the sea instead of land like Maldives people. He mentioned that the existing status of tourism which is supported by sports is enough for the island and the land development proposals meant for tourism is not suitable for the island’s geography. Just like Kashmir’s special status was repealed for corporates to buy land in Kashmir, Lakshadweep is being used for the same.

When the existence of islanders is questioned, resistance should be formed against these fascists from all corners and also the attack on Lakshadweep should force the Islamophobic Parliamentary left people to rethink in wake of Lakshadweep issue on their theory that it’s the Muslim organisations that pave way for the Hindutva forces in the country. There are no visible or influential Muslim Organisations there on the island. The main excuse or justification by BJP spokespersons on Lakshadweep in Television debates is Nationalism and Development! Dear people, their Nationalism is in favour of corporates and Hindutva! The goal of the administrator is not the Development of the island and islanders but of Hindutva and that of corporates.

The privatisation of health facilities, Animal Preservation Regulation, Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation, Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation (PASA), Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulation Act, attack on the livelihood of fishermen who form the 90%, expelling Government employees, changing freight transit route, shutting down Government Institutions and the curtailing of local administration powers spoon-feeds us that Lakshadweep people are Politically, Culturally, Socially and Economically exploited by the Largest Political Party of the world, BJP which is ruling the largest pseudo-Democratic country, India.

If you think that this is a problem only of Lakshadweep people and of the Muslim community, you are wrong! His authoritarian dictatorship was also seen in the Hindu Majority (90.50%) Union Territory, Diu. He gave orders to demolish the shelters used by fishermen Community in name of so-called development and tourism. The control of the coastal region was handed over to the tourism department. Just like government employees were dismissed in Lakshadweep, nearly 600 local employees met with the same fate in Diu. About 560 members of tribal communities from the PWD were expelled and to shelter the protestors who were detained, 2 high schools were used as prisons. Many may think that the fascist actions proposed & implemented on Lakshadweep and Diu are just for corporates, it’s also part of building Hindu Rashtra. The food habits of Diu was also affected after Praful gave orders to drop eggs from the diet meant for Anganawaadis and made the diet vegetarian. Since Lakshadweep is a Muslim majority island with an influence of Anti Hindutva sentiments, it is a herculean task for the Central government to bury the seeds of Hindutva when compared to Diu. So more Draconian laws will be targeted to exploit them economically, socially, culturally and politically. If we analyse here, the working class and people engaged in unorganized sectors are the ones who are most affected here, so this is also a class issue, not only an attack on the Muslim community.

Communist International observed that fascism was the dictatorship of corporate capital. Simultaneously, the Indian ruling class is implementing its ruling ideas which are Brahminical Hindutva fascist state and corporate dictatorship. The Nationalist Bourgeoisie/ Corporates wants to privatise the Indian lands under the flag of Hindutva with fascists as the torchbearers. Another important thing to keep in mind is that Praful Patel is just a representative of RSS, the whole protest should not be minimised to him as an individual alone! RSS has proclaimed that by 2025 India will become Hindu Rashtra and remember that it will be a private land meant only for the rich. The farm bills, NRC-CAA, Abrogation of Kashmir’s special status, privatisation of government Institutions are projects meant for Hindu Rashtra Pvt Limited. Under the smoke of Lockdown, just like Anti NRC-CAA activists and Bhima Koregaon accused were incarcerated, using the pandemic for initiating Anti People laws is to minimize the scale of protests against the idea to sell Lakshadweep to Gujarat Based Corporate lobbies who licks Sangh Parivar. Marxists Leninists Maoists, Socialists, Democrats, Working-class, Peasants, Women, other minority genders, Muslims, Adivasis, Dalits, other religious Minorities, Students and all exploited people should unite militantly against this Brahamnic Hindutva Fascism and burn them to ashes for a socialist state!

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