Communist Party of India (Marxist) senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP Elamaram Kareem has wrote a letter to the President Ram Nath Kovind to draw his attention on the authoritarian rule of the administrator of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep and the increasing unrest among the people against his unilateral decisions.
On Sunday, Kerala MP has requested the President to urgently call back Praful Patel, administrator of the Lakshadweep, considering the anti-people policies of him which led to widespread protest among the people.
“You have appointed Shri. Praful Patel as the Administrator of the UT of Lakshadweep on 5th December 2020 consequent to the sad demise of the Shri. Dineshwar Sharma. As soon Shri. Praful Patel assumed that office, he unilaterally changed the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which was in force in the island for preventing the spread of COVID pandemic. According to the people of island, this unplanned and unscientific altering of SOP has led to the current surge in COVID cases in Lakshadweep where there was not even a single case reported in the year 2020,” read Kareem’s letter.
According to Elamaram Kareem, the orders and promulgations issued by the Lakshadweep administration under the current administrator, are with an ulterior motive to destroy the traditional life and cultural diversity of the people of Lakshadweep.
“All of the regulations were promulgated without an iota of consideration towards the people or their choice of food and livelihood. The undemocratic and anti-people regulation in the name of ‘Animal Preservation’ which intends to ban slaughter, transportation, selling or buying of beef products is one among such orders. This is a blatant onslaught on the people who depends upon dairying and growing of bovine as a means of livelihood. A large section of people in the UT of Lakshadweep finds their earning from this and the same has been destroyed by the above said regulation. Neither the island community nor the local bodies in the island ever raised such a demand and they were never consulted during such regulations are being framed,” MP raised his concerns about the Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation, 2021.
He went on to say: “Under the new administrator, hundreds of casual and contract labourers who were working under different departments of the UT of Lakshadweep have lost their job. Every day orders are being released to terminate the casual and contractual staffs from different government offices. About 38 Anganwadis were closed. 190 people were terminated from the tourism department. School lunch makers and sports teachers were terminated. Many were expelled from the Department of Animal Welfare and the Department of Agriculture. All this has caused great concern and suffering among the islanders during this pandemic time.”
Due to cultural and religious reasons, there was restriction on the use of alcohol in the UT of Lakshadweep.
“But the current administrator unilaterally lifted that restriction despite of repeated requests from the people not to do so. This decision is also intended to destroy the harmony and trample the religious beliefs of the people living there,” he accused.
Fishing is the main source of income for majority of the people living in the island.
Kareem MP accused that the sheds where fishermen used to keep their nets and other equipment were demolished by the new administration on the grounds that they violated the Coast Guard Act.
“The temporary buildings, which were earlier constructed under an exemption given only to fishermen by the administration are now being demolished without any warning. This caused huge losses to the workers,” CPIM MP wrote to the President.
Kareem also accused BJP government of severing Lakshadweep’s ties with Kerala.
“The administration has also decided that the islanders should no longer rely on Beypore pan for freight transit. Instead, they should depend on Mangalore port for this purpose. The decision will also adversely affect Beypore, which is closely associated with the island since decades,” he said.
According to Kareem MP, in the name of reforms and schemes the new administrator is trying to completely destroy the traditional life of the people of Lakshadweep.
“Many of the existing laws are being amended unilaterally and new legislations are being drafted without any consultation with the people or their elected representatives. All these unilateral, undemocratic and anti-people decisions have created very huge unrest among the people and the whole Lakshadweep wants this administrator and his policies to leave the island,” he continued.
Kareem MP wrote to the President that the authoritarian administrators should not be allowed to continue in the office.
Earlier on Sunday, another parliamentarian from Kerala, Indian Union Muslim League’s ET Muhammed Basheer MP has alleged that he Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is currently sowing poisonous seeds in Lakshadweep, where more than 99 percent Muslims live.
“The centre is so hellbent on sowing division among cohesive Lakshadweep community. Weird new measures are being enacted by current Praful Patel administration to the detriment of predominantly Muslim indigenous population. This is a blatant misuse of power and must not be allowed,” Basheer MP tweeted.
The MPs’ responses come at a time the residents of Lakshadweep are protesting against current administrator Praful Patel for introducing draconian laws that have the tendency to disrupt and displace the life Lakshadweep people.