Praful Patel, the administrator of Lakshadweep island and the person who has successfully managed to carb his name on a minister’s suicide note is facing immense backlash for his unprecedented law-making ethos in the UT. Praful who recently said ‘UT was ruled by people who have not been able to carry out any development in last 70 years”. They do not want development here, as they think their interest will not be served,’ after he passed inquisitive measures crumbling the lives of people of Lakshadweep.
Patel talks about development, the power of youth, and discarding poverty in the UT with a slew of hilarious measures he took for the archipelago which mostly signs disrupting the culture and livelihood of the Muslim majority territory. Lakshadweep, the union territory of India is a compact space of around 32 square kilometers and constitutes 96.58% Muslims. While the UT manages to still hold its breath and build no protesting grounds, the population is furious regarding the insensitive measures taken by Praful.
Here’s why Kashmir is boiling after the administration tried to impose its power:
- The Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation, 2021
After Praful Khoda Patel was appointed as the administrator of the UT which generally was ruled by the senior-most bureaucrats and the panchayat electoral winners, he demanded changes in the meat laws of the UT. In February 2021, Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation was introduced under his administration which stood to alter the trading and consumption of beef and other cuisines in Lakshadweep. The draft allowed a ban on cow slaughter and slaughter of other animals such as bullocks and bulls. Not only this, but the draft law also aims to grant certain certifications to individuals and groups in case they are willing to slaughter the animals.
While the administration says it has come up with the law for the protection of animals, the locals feel the law is a threat to their culture and the administration does not decide what they should eat. People fear the BJP personal is trying to ban beef in the UT and enter into their homes as they did in other states like Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, embarking on the draft law as another BJP stunt to disown Muslims of their own rights. The law will impact the livelihood of the people as beef is the major cuisine of Lakshadweep, others have questioned the necessity of the law on other grounds as well. Recently, the administration also removed mutton and chicken from school meals and served other food items to students. But the most important question still is, why do they need to ask for permission for following their religious practices which include cow slaughter?
To add more Praful responded to the allegation of banning beef with ‘Many states have banned beef. If this is implemented in Lakshadweep too, what’s the harm?’
2. The Dentention law
Having its high court in Kerala, Lakshadweep is the UT with the least criminal cases in India. Introducing a law to detain people for a maximum period of one year even without their crimes being registered is itself a question mark. The Lakshadweep Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation act draft ensures bootleggers, drug offenders, cyber offenders, cruel persons, depredators of environment and sexual offenders, property grabbers, and dangerous persons to be held under trial and extended without trial to maintain public peace and order. While there is no reason for the introduction of the law in a UT with almost zero criminal cases, people fear the law already will prohibit them from protesting against Praful Patel and his administration.
Several students and activists were mishandled by local police at the time of CAA protests in the UT. The administration further banned people from protesting against the Animal Preservation regulation and closing of animal farm laws.
3. The ‘Closing of Animal Farm’ law
Lakshadweep has been a UT that holds its majority of income, living, and business into dairy farming. The recent order from the administration to sell and auction animals and to close animal farms is scary as it will affect the daily lives of locals. While the letter asks to sell or auction the bulls, cows, ducks, and other animals before 31 May 2021, localities have not yet taken steps to do so.
But it is legitimate to hold on as this law will affect the lower-level employment, have being already closed the animal farms destroyed several businesses.
4. The Panchayat Regulation law
While Lakshadweep still weeps the above laws, another law on who can be the leader and rule the UT is a slap on the local people. The law states ‘anybody who has more than two children can not run for elections. While Lakshadweep did not have any sort of conditions for panchayat elections, this new law might result in many electoral champions losing their stake just because they have more than two children.
‘As far as the disqualification criterion of having more than two children is concerned, such a provision is already in place in Gujarat and elsewhere,’ said Praful clarifying his takes on the new regulation.
5. The ‘commuting port’ law
Mohammad Faizal, a social worker and MLA from Lakshadweep has mentioned that the Praful administration is working on closing the seaport link that connects the Island to Kerala. Giving people an option to choose between Beypore port in Kerala to Mangalore port in Karnataka does no justice as Lakshadweep as it has been using both the ports for shipping and commutation purposes.
While some say this will inhibit the shipping of goods to other states, others say the BJP government wants to break links with Kerala as the state has a lesser BJP majority.
6. The ‘no liquor law and land acquisition’ law
Lakshadweep Prohibition Regulation 1979 regulates the prohibition of the manufacture or consumption of liquor and any other kind of drug in UT and the rule has been followed since then. The new administration however has given liquor rights to several islands and also granted permission to open bars in Kavaratti, Kadamat, and Minicoy. People believe that the law if implemented will disrupt the peace, culture, and year-old tradition.
Another law draft that has managed to capture enough criticism is the land acquisition defined by the Lakshadweep administration. According to it, there can be more powers added to the administrator in order to boost land ownership and land development in UT. The general concern raising among people is the uneven dethroning of properties of people and forcible land-ownership by the mafias and land-goons. Also, they fear the administration might invite foreign settlements and investors to consume Lakshadweep lands as the BJP did at the time of abrogation of article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
The people of Lakshadweep have been witnessing more complications to their livelihood after the arrival of the BJP administrator. While some decided to protest at lower scales, the protests did not manage to gain enough attention from the ruling media. Eight BJP ministers have resigned in the UT demanding regulation of Patel’s governance but the administrator seems to be stick to his cards. Congress stalwart Rahul Gandhi today demanded PM’s intervention saying ‘ However, Lakshadweep’s future is threatened by the anti-people policies announced by the administrator of Lakshadweep, Shri Praful Khoda Patel. The administrator has unilaterally proposed sweeping changes without duly consulting elected representatives or the public. The people of Lakshadweep are protesting against these arbitrary actions. Livelihood security and sustainable development are being sacrificed for short-term commercial gains. The provision in the draft Panchayat Regulation that disqualifies members with more than two children is blatantly anti-democratic. Under the guise of development and maintaining law and order in a low crime union territory, the draconian regulations penalize dissent and undermine grassroots democracy.’
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