Lakshadweep – Another Victim of the Hindutva Agenda

Mafazah Sharafuddin
May 28, 2021

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Several controversial legislative proposals in Lakshadweep have given way to protests by the indigenous population of the island. The legislation are said to attack their livelihood and lifestyle, and the locals of the island are fighting back. 

Praful Patel was appointed administrator of Lakshadweep in December 2020. Unlike what is customary, he is not an IAS officer and was formerly a BJP MP. He served as Home Minister of Gujarat while PM Modi was Chief Minister. He replaced Amit Shah after he resigned following the accusation of Sohrabuddin Sheikh Shah’s alleged extra-judicial killing. 

Prior to this, he was also Administrator in Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Like the legislations being protested in in Lakshadweep at the moment, they, too, saw a series of attacks against the livelihood of the indigenous people. 

A few of the legislations being implemented in Lakshadweep are the ban of cow, bull, calf slaughter and the ban of storage and selling of beef, the legalization of alcohol, the inability for anyone with more than two children to contest elections etc. There are also some very contentious policies about land ownership and modification. 

When taken individually, while they are still arbitrary and unnecessary, they seem almost innocuous. The sinister idea is visible only when one looks at them all at once. The big picture, as it has been since 2014 for Indian Muslims, is grim. 

Lakshadweep has an overwhelming majority of Muslims, standing at over 95% of the total populace. In addition to this, over 94% come under Scheduled Tribes. 

Keeping this in mind, it is not surprising that the archipelago does not see the sale of alcohol, and sees no issue with the consumption of beef. With the current push for a Brahmin-centered Hindutva ideology, mainland India’s obsession with homogeneity has not quite reached the island yet. 

Praful Patel’s policies have been called ‘anti-people.’ The people of Lakshadweep have accused him of taking advantage of the fact that people are unable to mobilize at the moment due to COVID to implement policies that hurt the indigenous people of Lakshadweep. They say that it not only destroys their livelihood, but also their culture. The internet has been taken by a storm of activists tweeting #SaveLakshadweep and demanding the recall of Praful Patel. 

The BJP does not keep their biases a secret. From the changing of the name of Allahabad to Prayagraj, the whole fiasco surrounding the destruction of Babri masjid, the various open statements by Pragya Thakur to the CAA-NRC conflict, their stance is clear. It has been clear for decades, now. 

When Article 370 was abrogated and Kashmir was put into lockdown, India expected it to be an exception to the rule. That the same could not occur in the rest of India. After all, Kashmir has been disputed land right from the time of independence. The atrocities committed in Kashmir, internationally acknowledged as human rights violations, seemed disconnected from India to a huge number of Indians. 

The jailing of student activists fighting against the CAA-NRC, the suppression of dissent, the lathi charges during protests, the existence of UAPA are all symptoms of a larger problem. The legislations in Lakshadweep are the latest in a long line of a bigoted pattern falling into place. 

When British colonizers went to America, they had several ways of suppressing the indigenous people, the Native Americans. One of the lesser known of them was bison hunting. Since bison, or buffaloes, were the primary food source for the Native Americans, the colonizers took to large scale hunting of bison. A slogan popularized by the colonizer army was “Kill every buffalo you can. Every buffalo dead is an Indian [Native American] gone.”

The act of genocide does not only involve brutal massacre. It is larger than that. It a systemic thing. It is an attempt to rewrite history and omit a community’s existence in that land. Erasure of culture is the first step to genocide. 

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News Network
June 12,2021

Mangaluru, June 12: The district administration is likely to impose a total lockdown in 40 villages as well as in Ullal, Someshwar, Kotekar and Belthangady where Covid positivity rate is high.

A meeting in this regard was held at Deputy Commissioner office chaired by district incharge minister Kota Srinivas Poojary.

He said the positivity rate in the district is not reduced and it is important to implement strict measures to bring down the positivity rate of covid, also covid testing must be increased.

BJP State President Nalin Kumar Kateel said, people are not taking covid-19 seriously, despite lockdown , many are roaming unnecessarily, to bring down the positivity rate, people must follow covid guidelines.

Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner Rajendra Kumar said lockdown rules cannot be relaxed now as it will be difficult for us to bring down the positivity rate, also, necessary action has been initiated to supply equipment, lab technicians and vehicles to primary health care centers.

As the lockdown has been extended till June 21, banks are allowed to function from 8 am to 12 noon while shops selling essentials, spectacles shops, garages and vehicle service shops can function from 6 am to 12 noon.

The district administration also warned people of unnecessary movement and asked them to stay home during the lockdown.

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News Network
June 13,2021

Lucknow, June 13: A woman was allegedly gangraped while she was undergoing treatment at a government hospital in the state capital of Lucknow.

The daughter of the 40-year-old victim, a resident of Uttar Pradesh's Amethi district, told Union Minister Smriti Irani, who represents the constituency in Lok Sabha, that her mother had told her that she had been 'gang-raped and 'assaulted' by the staff at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Lucknow.

While the officials ordered a probe into the matter after Irani's intervention, the victim died late on Saturday night while being shifted to another hospital in Lucknow.

The daughter of the victim said that her mother had been admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences on June 7 after being referred from the district hospital in Amethi.

''I was not allowed to meet my mother by the staff... after much persuasion, I met her a few days later and found her in a critical condition... she told me then that she had been gangraped and beaten by the staff,'' she said.

The victim was discharged on Friday without assigning any reason even though she was still unconscious, she further alleged.

Officials informed that a committee has been formed to investigate the allegations.

The Lohia hospital management, however, refuted the allegations and said that no such complaint was lodged with it by the daughter of the victim.

The incident comes close on the heels of another alleged gang rape with a patient inside the operation theatre of a hospital in Prayagraj. 

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News Network
June 8,2021

Udupi, June 8: The principal district and sessions court in Udupi today held the three accused in the Bhaskar Shetty murder case guilty and awarded them life sentence.

The court awarded life sentence to Rajeshwari Shetty, wife of Bhaskar Shetty, Navaneet Shetty, son, and priest/astrologer Niranjan Bhat.

The NRI businessman and hotelier Bhaskar Shetty, 52, a resident of Indrali in Udupi, was murdered brutally by his wife Rajeshwari along with their son Navaneet, priest/ astrologer Niranjan Bhat, his father Srinivas, who died when the trial was in progress, and Raghavendra, a driver, on July 28, 2016.

The court convicted Shetty’s wife, son and the astrologer in the morning and later awarded life sentence to them in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, Raghavendra has been acquitted.

While Rajeshwari had obtained bail, son Navaneet and astrologer Bhat are in jail.

The prosecution commenced the final arguments in the sensational murder case through senior counsel and Special Public Prosecutor M Shantharam Shetty.

Sessions judge Subramanya J N pronounced the final verdict.

It may be recalled that on July 29, 2016, Gulabi Shetty, mother of Shetty, tried to get in touch with her son over the phone and when there was no response she complained to Manipal Police that her son was missing.

The convicts had brutally murdered Bhaskar Shetty and burnt his body in a Homa Kunda at the residence of an astrologer.

Shetty’s bones were recovered from a river in Nandalike on August 10, 20216.

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