Written by P.S. Sahni & Shobha Aggarwal
Incidents happening in Lakshadweep under the ruthless Administrator Praful Patel are very disturbing even during these unusual times. Memory goes back to June 1975 when under cover of Internal Emergency a similar exercise was carried out in Muslim dominated area of in and around Jama Masjid, old Delhi. It so happened that Sanjay Gandhi and the then DDA Vice Chairman Mr. Jagmohan (who was to become Governor of J & K later) lamented that they were unable to see Jama Masjid in view of tenements around Jama Masjid housing the Muslims. So the following plan of action was undertaken:
1. Bulldozing the tenements housing 70,000 Muslims (equivalent to the present population of Lakshadweep).
2. Change the pattern of land use.
3. Attempt was to beautify the area and make it a tourist spot. The truth is that it was a tourist spot already.
4. During this period preventive detention laws were strengthened.
5. Sanjay’s five point program included family planning which transformed into forcible vasectomy.
6. Muslims, poor and subordinate caste people were targeted.
Maneka Gandhi was instrumental in getting the Idgah abattoir out of old Delhi through judicial means.
A cursory look at the last few days media clippings show:
That Lakshadweep Administrator has the same proclivities e.g. converting Lakshadweep into a grand tourist spot akin to Maldives; preventing people with two plus kids from becoming Panchayat members; strengthening preventive detention laws; and change of land use pattern.
Our friend Inder Mohan of PUCL opposed the demolition; BBC covered his arrest under MISA. Inder Mohan was innocent enough to meet Sanjay Gandhi during the day and get arrested in late evening. Next day Muslims in old Delhi lined up along the lanes and by-lanes even as Inder Mohan was being escorted from Darya Ganj Police Station to Tis Hazari District Court, Delhi.
Is Lakshadweep the next target even without a formal emergency?
P.S. Sahni & Shobha Aggarwal are part of AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan