On Saturday, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan came out in support of the Malayalam film actor Prithviraj Sukumaran, after he had in a Facebook post, extended his support for the people of Lakshadweep. The actor has been targeted online by members of the right-wing.
The CM told the media in response to a question, “The sentiments expressed by the actor are that of the Kerala society… Prithviraj expressed it in the right way.”
Opposing the reform measures adopted by the island administrator Praful Patel, the actor said he was receiving “desperate messages” from the islanders he knew, and they requested him to draw the attention of the public to the issues there.
Prithviraj penned a strong statement on his social media handle. He wrote, “Lakshadweep. My first memories of this gorgeous little group of islands are from a school excursion when I was in my 6th grade. I remember being in awe of the turquoise waters and the crystal clear lagoons. Years later, I was part of the crew that brought film making back to the islands with Sachy’s ANARKALI. I spent a good 2 months in Kavarati and made memories and friends for a lifetime. Two years back I went back again to film what was probably the most challenging sequence of my directorial debut LUCIFER. None of these would have been possible if not for the wonderful, warm-hearted people of Lakshadweep.For the last few days, I’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. I’m not going to go on and write an essay about the islands and why the new administrator’s “reforms” seem completely bizarre. All such material should by now be easily available online for those of you interested in reading about it.”
He further added, “What I do know for sure though, is that none of the islanders I know, or none of those who’ve spoken to me are happy with what’s happening. I strongly believe that any law, reform or amendment should never be for the land, but for the people of the land. It’s never the geographical or political boundary that makes a country, state or a union territory but the people who live there. How does disrupting the way of life of a centuries old peaceful settlement become an acceptable means of progress? How will threatening the balance of a very delicate island ecosystem with no regard for the potential consequences pave the way for sustainable development?I have faith in our system, and even more faith in our 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 act on it. So please, to whomsoever it may concern, do listen to the voice of the people of Lakshadweep, trust them to know what is better for their land. It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth, with even more beautiful people living there.”