Why Lakshadweep’s ‘new reforms’ has led the UT protest against its Administrator?

Recently, the draft regulations for Lakshadweep cleared by its Administrator Praful Patel have created a huge turmoil in the Union Territory. With proposals ranging from a ban on beef to disqualification of panchayat poll candidates with more than two children, the UT administrator has now come into the public eye.

The Congress on Tuesday demanded his immediate removal as it is widely believed that the administrator is not only destroying the peace and culture of the islands, but also “harassing” the people by imposing arbitrary restrictions.

The UT is witnessing an outcry as fears are growing among the islanders and the residents over Administrator Praful Patel’s draft regulations. The Opposition party leaders and fellow-citizens from the mainland are joining protests to raise voice against the overreach of the union government through their appointee.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also commented on the recent developments that’s going on in Lakshadweep and said that the administrator’s actions possess a serious challenge to the culture and life of the people of the Union Territory. He further added, “Such acts cannot be accepted as Kerala has long-standing ties with Lakshadweep. There is a bid to destroy that. Persons concerned should keep away from such a narrow-minded approach.”

Patel’s questionable actions:

With Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation, the administrator is trying to “stop the sale, consumption, storage and transport of beef.” The draft has led to a serious unrest in the Union Territory as Muslims make over 90 percent of the population. As per the draft, with anybody fails to comply with the rules, the person will end up with a minimum jail period of seven years.

Lakshadweep has long been a non-alcoholic zone and therefore, beef is a big part of the islanders’ diet naturally. This is the major reason why the residents and islanders are protesting against the drafts.

Apart from this, the regulations also seek to disallow a candidate to contest panchayat elections if they have two or more children. The administrator through his regulations also made survival difficult for the fishing community by removing their temporary huts, sheds, boats, net-drying facilities and storage spaces in violation of coastal zone rules. 

Also, the administration is attempting to “usurp the people’s land” by introducing the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021. In case the regulation got implemented, it will empower the government to take any piece of land owned by any common man on the island for development purposes.

Other than this, the administration even passed the Goonda Act (‘Lakshadweep Prevention of Anti-Social Activities’ Regulation) back in January in the territory that has the lowest crime rates in the country. Through this act, the administration of Lakshadweep in the name of law and order is trying to curb the freedom of expression in the territory. The act also allows the state to unilaterally detain a person without offering a public reason for up to a year.

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