Agati Island runway Lakshadweep islands

From Beef ban to Gunda Act; why protest against Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Patel?

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Muslims constitute 96 per cent of the total population in Lakshadweep

Ground Report | New Delhi: Lakshadweep Political Crisis: For the last few days, there have been demonstrations against Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Patel. The islands are protected under special provisions where the sale of alcohol is not permitted, outsiders cannot buy land there, moreover, non-residents cannot visit the islands without special permission from the administration.

Opposing parties of Lakshadweep and Kerala have started protesting the various steps taken by the administrator here as anti-people. There is a demand for sending back to the Administrator of Lakshadweep by running a social media campaign called #SaveLakshadweep . On the other hand, some MPs from Kerala have also written a letter to President Ramnath Kovind. The letter states that all orders issued by Patel ” aim to destroy the traditional life and cultural diversity of the people of Lakshadweep”.

The allegation by the opposition is that the opposition has accused Patel that he is unilaterally banning the Muslim-majority islands. He said the administrator prohibited the consumption of alcohol, citing animal protection and banned beef (bovine) products. It has also been accused of breaking fishermen’s huts in coastal areas on the basis of violation of the Coast Guard Act.

Who is Praful Patel?

Praful Khoda Patel, a resident of Gujarat, was the former home minister of the state when Narendra Modi was its chief minister. Patel, considered close to Modi, was made the administrator of Lakshadweep in December 2020 following the demise of former administrator and IPS officer Dineshwar Sharma.

Earlier, Patel was appointed as the administrator of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli in 2016. The appointment of politicians as administrator was a departure from the earlier practice of appointing civil servants only to the Modi-led government.

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What is happening in Lakshadweep

In the last few days, a social media movement “#SaveLakshadweep” has emerged to highlight the ongoing crisis in the island. People mainly from Lakshadweep and Kerala took to social media with slogans of “#SaveLakshadweep” to call Praful Patel for their official rules like LDAR and PASA.

The people here are most annoyed with the proposal of ‘Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation, 2021’ of all these new rules and laws. Under the new regulation ‘the administrator has been given the right to remove or transfer the local people from their property for town planning or any other development activity’.

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Beef Ban and No ban on alcohol

Muslims constitute 96 per cent of the total population in Lakshadweep . The slaughter, transport, sale and purchase of beef products was banned on 25 February 2021 under the Animal Preservation Regulations-2021, which was also openly opposed.

The proposed ban on beef under the Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation Draft has created unrest in the union territory. According to the draft, no person can sell, buy, store or transport beef or beef products anywhere in Lakshadweep directly or indirectly. The draft gives the power to the concerned officer to seize the beef being transported. The guilty person can be punished from 7 to 10 years and can also be fined from 1 lakh to 5 lakh rupees.

MP Kareem says that such ‘undemocratic and anti-people’ rule in the name of conservation of animals is against people’s life and freedom to eat food of choice. He says that the livelihood of many people will be lost by this new rule, no local person had ever made such a demand and while making rules, no local was even negotiated.

How Lakshadweep culture is in Danger

The Lakshadweep administration has come up with some proposals to disqualifying people with more than two children from participating in panchayat elections, against which political parties have written to the center. Apart from this, the Anti-Gunda Act is included in the administration’s draft regulations, while the crime rate is very low in Lakshadweep .

The administration is going to set up a Development Authority, under which the local people will have the right to acquire land for development schemes.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Monday that the decision of the administrator is a big threat to the culture and lifestyle of the people of Lakshadweep. He said, “Such rules cannot be accepted. Kerala has a long association with Lakshadweep. An attempt is being made to destroy it. People should stay away from such narrow thoughts.”

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Muslim Majority Lakshadweep and relations with Kerala?

Most of the indigenous population is Muslim in Lakshadweep and the neighbouring state of Kerala. The administrator’s new decisions are also allegedly to cut Lakshadweep’s ties with Kerala. They should depend on the Mangaluru port for this purpose. The decision would also adversely affect Beypore, which has been closely linked to the island for decades. It is alleged that the purpose of this decision is to end Lakshadweep’s relationship with Kerala.

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also took cognizance of the issue on 24 May. Describing the reports coming from Lakshadweep as “serious”, he said that this situation is a threat to the life and culture of the inhabitants of the islands. “Lakshadweep and Kerala have a close relationship Kerala and Lakshadweep are interdependent. We are connected to each other through education, employment, medical treatment and business. But now an attempt is being made to end this connection. Such stands are taken on narrow views. The authorities should back down from such efforts, ”he said.

Tribal and land issue

The Lakshadweep administration is also going to set up a Development Authority under section 72, it also empowers the Planning and Development Authority to evict anyone occupying the land under the final plan prepared under the proposed law. Which “will allow for the systematic and progressive development of land in both urban and rural areas and to preserve and improve its facilities; To allow land to be developed and other powers of control over the use of land; To provide additional powers in relation to acquisition and development of land for the scheme. This regulation would also allow for construction, engineering, mining, quarrying and other such works on ecologically rich and sensitive islands under the definition of “development”.

“If the Planning and Development Authority protests or obstructs the eviction of such person or taking possession of land from such person, the District Magistrate shall, at the request of the Planning and Development Authority, enforce the eviction or safe distribution of such person. Possession of land to the Planning and Development Authority, ”the draft states.

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