NEW DELHI—The Kerala High Court has ordered that those arrested for protesting against the decisions of the Lakshadweep administration be released on furnishing personal bond. The order was issued on Tuesday.
Several persons in Kilthan island of the union territory were arrested by the police on May 28 after they protested against the controversial laws passed by administrator Praful Khoda Patel.
The orders were passed by a division bench comprising Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Kauser Edappagath on a petition filed by one Rahmathulla and 11 others.
The petitioners submitted that arrested persons were not released despite the fact the charges levelled against them are bailable.
During hearing, the counsel for the Lakshadweep administration submitted that the executive magistrate was prepared to release the protesters on bail but the protesters refused to get released. However, this was denied by petitioner’s counsel R Rohith.
Observing that the “most important concern for us is the liberty of the persons who are in custody”, the bench directed the chief judicial magistrate of Lakshadweep to take up the case of detained persons through video-conferencing and release them on personal bond.
Atrocities Committed in Lakshadweep Worse Than During Colonial Rule: Kerala CM
Two days ago, Kerala assembly passed a resolution moved by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, demanding removal of the administrator.
The resolution said that “in the name of promoting tourism, the culture and essence of Lakshadweep itself is being negated.”
Claiming that the atrocities being committed in Lakshadweep are worse than during colonial rule, the Kerala CM said that the Centre is “trying to implement saffron agenda and corporate interests in Lakshadweep”.
He urged the Centre to ensure that the interests of the people of the UT are protected.
Kerala CM said that the coconut trees were first painted saffron and now the culture and livelihood of the people were being attacked.
Gujarat Model in Lakshadweep
In an editorial, CPI(M) mouthpiece People’s Democracy said that the Gujarat Model is being implemented in Lakshadweep by Praful Patel. “He is now foisting the Gujarat model on Lakshadweep – a mixture of Hindutva and neoliberalism. Bearing the brunt of this Hindutva experiment are the people of Lakshadweep who are 99 per cent Muslims,” said the editorial.
“Online portals have been shut down; even three school students were arrested recently for sending messages to the administrator,” the editorial alleged.
“Lakshadweep, which was a peaceful haven, has been turned into a cauldron of unrest due to the Hindutva experiment of the administrator, who is an agent of the Modi-Shah duo – as the administrator of a union territory, Patel is answerable only to the home ministry under Amit Shah,” CPI(M) mouthpiece said.
The editorial goes on to say, “In a Muslim majority territory, Patel’s policies reveal shades of the Kashmir experience, but the real model being pursued is the Gujarat one – a developmental model destructive of the environment, the imposition of Hindutva values on a minority community, ruthless suppression of dissent and a callous disregard for human life during a pandemic”.
“The people of Lakshadweep have been peacefully protesting these attacks on their way of life. They are not fighting this onslaught alone. Kerala which has close traditional and cultural ties with Lakshadweep (the people speak a dialect of Malayalam) has risen as a whole in defence of the rights of the people of the islands. Every political and social organisation (except the BJP and RSS) have expressed solidarity with the people of Lakshadweep”, the editorial said.