This article is from May 25, 2021

Voices against BJP government’s Praful Patel… What is happening in Lakshadweep?

Elamaram Kareem, a member of the state assembly from Kerala, has written a letter to President Ramnath Govind urging him to immediately withdraw the dictatorial regime of Praful Khoda Patel, the administrator of Lakshadweep, because of the growing unrest among the people against Patel’s unilateral decisions.

Praful Patel of the Bharatiya Janata Party was appointed by President Ramnath Govind on December 5, 2020, as the administrator of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. There are voices against him by the people for all the actions he continues to take. Praful Patel was also the Minister of State for Gujarat when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister.

The actions taken by Praful Patel are seen there as ‘arbitrary laws’. The recent draft regulation to create the Lakshadweep Development Authority (LDA) has caused severe dissatisfaction among the people living there. People believe that gov. is trying to seize small assets owned by the islanders (94.8% of them belong to the scheduled tribes according to the 2011 census) and that this is fruitful only to the real estate owners located there.

Reports such as “Building, engineering, mining, quarrying or other activities, cutting of hills, construction of national highways” are referred to as development activities in that draft. Opponents of the project have also pointed out that they are in ecologically weak islands that are small and densely populated. What is the need for a national highway on the sparsely populated island?

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In a letter to the President, Kerala MP Elamaram Kareem said, “After Patel appointed as Administrator, he has arbitrarily changed the standard operating procedure (SOP) that was in place to control corona infection. According to people living there, this unplanned and unscientific SOP change led to the rise of Covid cases in Lakshadweep. They claim that not a single case of Covid damage has been reported there by 2020. (Current number of Covid-19 cases in Lakshadweep – about 2000)

Take a look at the orders and announcements made by Administrator Patel in Lakshadweep. It can be seen that all the orders are issued with an intention to destroy the traditional life and cultural diversity of the people. All the rules are meant to restrict the freedom of people to choose their diet and lifestyle without considering it. He has imposed anti-democratic restrictions in the name of protecting animals. These restrictions include a ban on slaughter, a ban on buying and selling beef.

Under the new Administrator, hundreds of ordinary and contract workers working under various departments in Lakshadweep have lost their jobs. Every day orders are issued to stop ordinary and contract employees from different government offices. About 38 Anganwadis were closed. 190 people were laid off from the tourism industry. School lunch cooks and sports teachers were suspended. Many were expelled from the Department of Animal Welfare and Agriculture. All this has caused great concern and suffering among the local people during these pandemics.

Due to cultural and religious reasons, the use of alcohol was restricted in Lakshadweep. But the current executive unilaterally lifted the ban. This decision is aimed at destroying harmony and shattering the hopes of the people who live there.

Fishing is the main source of income for the majority of the island’s population. But the sheds where the fishermen kept their nets and other equipment were demolished by the new administration for allegedly violating the Coast Guard Act. Temporary buildings previously built on the basis of an exemption granted only to fishermen by the previous administration are now being demolished without any warning. This caused great loss to the workers. People there should not use the port of Beypore port for freight and cargo traffic, Instead, the administration has decided that they should depend on the Mangalore port. This decision will also adversely affect the Beypore port, which has been closely associated with the island for many years. The decision is said to be aimed at severing Lakshadweep’s ties with Kerala.

In the name of projects and reforms, the new administrator is trying to completely destroy the traditional life of the Lakshadweep people. Many existing laws are being amended unilaterally. And new laws are enforced without any consultation with the people or their elected representatives. All these unilateral, anti-democratic and anti-people decisions have created great unrest among those people. The entire people of Lakshadweep wants this administrator and his policies to leave the island.

In this context, I urge you not to allow such dictatorial executives to continue in office and to immediately recall Praful Patel and take immediate action to review and withdraw all orders and reforms announced under his rule. ” Elamaram Kareem, a member of the state assembly, said in a letter to President Ramnath Govind.

Actor Prithviraj Record:

“How can disrupting the centuries-old, peaceful way of life become an acceptable means of progress? How can threatening the balance of a highly sophisticated island ecosystem lead to sustainable development without considering the potential consequences? None of the islanders I contacted expressed happiness over what was happening there, ”actor Prithviraj posted.

Many, including Malayalam actor Prithviraj, have been giving voice to the people living there. Over the last few days, various people have been posting on social media to help Lakshadweep people under the hashtag #savelakshadweep.

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CPIM MP written letter 

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