Lakshadweep: Panjayath members in Minicoy boycott official meetings in protest against new regulations

The elected members of District Panjayaths (DP) and Village Dweep Panjayaths (VDP) in Minicoy island in Lakshadweep Union Territory

The elected members of District Panjayaths (DP) and Village Dweep Panjayaths (VDP) in Minicoy island in Lakshadweep Union Territory on Friday wrote to Assistant Superintendent of Police, Amit Varma IPS that they will boycott all official meetings and functions until all the draconian regulation notifications and unilateral reforms by Lakshadweep UT administrator Praful K Patel are revoked.

“All the elected representatives unanimously decided to inform that we are extremely aggrieved by the atrocious attitude of the administrator and the administration,” read a letter signed by Minicoy Village Dweep Panjayath chairperson Hussain Manikfan AE, vice chairperson Dr. Abdul Muneer and the other members of DP and VDP.

They also accused District Collector Asker Ali of raising “baseless and fabricated” allegations of arms and drug trafficking in island in the press meet.

“His statements are derogatory with malicious intention, to smudge entire island community and to create unrest in the islands by provocative statements. Nothing less than an apology in press meet is acceptable,” they demanded.

They also alleged that Praful Khoda Patel and Asker Ali are “least bothered to listen to people’s elected representatives namely District Panchayat and Village (Dweep) Panchayats and are acting as dictators which is unacceptable in a democratic country like India.

The insane decisions and reforms had turned the peaceful islands turbulent, the elected members said.

They also went on to say: “As UTL administration had never bothered to consult elected representatives in any of the matters including the bunch of draft regulations and other unhealthy reforms including matters related to PRI’s in Lakshadweep impounded within a short span of 5 month duration. UTL administration is advised politely to rethink and revoke the entirely disturbed scenario created by the high handedness and bureaucratic hegemony of UTL administration to invite elected representatives for any such discussion in future with the deserving dignity and protocol.”

Lakshadweep newly-appointed administrator Patel’s recent decisions and draconian regulations have caused discontent in the Muslim-majority islands.

He has been accused of implementing Goonda Act in a place where least number of violent crimes reported in the country, banning beef products in a place the meat is widely consumed, demolishing fishermen’s sheds in coastal areas for violating the Coast Guard Act and revoking restrictions on the consumption of alcohol.

The former Gujarat BJP Minister of State for Home Praful Patel said to be very close to the Prime Minister’s office, RSS and BJP leadership.

Congress, NCP, CPIM, Muslim League and some other opposition parties have accused the Lakshadweep administration of “destroying peace and culture” of the islands. Island’s MP Mohammed Faizal, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin have demanded that Patel be recalled from the island chain.