Amidst a deadly pandemic, there were tweets from a huge number with #savelakshadweep to highlight the ongoing crisis in the territory. From politicians to actors and sports personalities everyone took to Twitter for the same. Lakshadweep being one of the exquisite destinations and peaceful island, what happened that resulted in widespread crisis?
Kerala Rajya Sabha MP Kareem alleged that Praful Patel ( BJP leader and administrator) is acting with a motive to destroy the culture and tradition of the island.
After Praful Patel took charge as an administrator of the island in December 2020, he came up with a series of reforms that stirred the crisis.
Major reforms included Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation, Lakshadweep Animal Preservation regulation, Lakshadweep Prevention of anti-social activities Regulation, and Lakshadweep Panchayat Staff Rules.
The land reforms will allow for orderly and progressive development and to improve the amenities. The administrator will have complete charge over it and these rules will confer additional powers to the administrator concerning the acquisition and development of land for planning.
They have the authority to remove and relocate the properties of people. The reforms also allow for mining, engineering, or any other developmental operations which may ruin the ecologically rich islands under the umbrella of development.
The draft of the Panchayat Regulations states that people with more than two children are incapable of contesting the elections to Panchayat when the fertility rate of the island is already low.
Lakshadweep has more than 90% of the Muslim population and according to the Animal Preservation Regulation can acquire, sell, transport, buy beef directly or indirectly leading to which there are punishments in Jail. Opposition came from this law because of the considerable Muslim Population there.
The ban on alcohol was lifted despite various requests to keep it. The alcohol ban was earlier due to cultural and religious reasons. Only resorts in Bangaram were allowed to serve alcohol but now it has opened it for all and there is an allowance to construct bars in islands. This is being opposed because it disturbs the previous environment of the island.
The Goonda Act under Prevention of Anti Social Activities which was brought seemed rather unnecessary. It says a person can be detained without any public disclosure for a period of one year.
Ironically, an island that has 1% of the crime rate in the whole country needs a law like this. The jails here are almost empty. The Goonda Act is arbitrary and reflective of central control.
The mishandling of the pandemic situation where earlier there were zero cases unlike now also infuriated people. The people of Lakshadweep pointed out that they aren’t fighting against the BJP government but Patel because of its autocratic administrative policies.
On a peaceful island as Lakshadweep, there was no need of regulating its natural and cultural ecosystem. It should have been free from all the control and these new reforms in the name of development. The island is known for its ecologically rich ecosystem which should not be meddled with.