Thursday, February 22, 2024

Denied entry to Lakshadweep; Kerala MP moves breach of privilege motion against Praful K Patel

Binoy Viswam

Communist Party of India (CPI) MP Binoy Viswam has filed a breach of privilege motion against the Lakshadweep Administrator Praful K. Patel for denying him permission to visit the islands, preventing him from meeting his party workers and people of the island amidst growing protest against the draconian policies of the new administrator.

This comes at a time delegation of the CPI (M) MPs were also denied permission for a Lakshadweep visit.

Viswam MP wrote a letter to the Rajya Sabha secretary general and said that he had informed the Lakshadweep Union Territory administration regarding his proposed visit on May 26, assuring them that he would abide by the COVID protocol. According to MP, it took five days for the administration to revert. Following which the Additional District Magistrate of Kavaratti replied that due to the prevailing coronavirus pandemic, MP should postpone his visit.

“It is pertinent to note that since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the islands of Lakshadweep had been able to keep the virus out in 2020. However, post the appointment of the current administration certain quarantining guidelines were relaxed as a result of which the UT has seen over 4,000 cases, with over 20 deaths already,” read his letter.

CPI leader said it is “undemocratic” and “abuse of power” on part of the UT administration to use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to prevent elected representatives from visiting Lakshadweep.

“People of Lakshadweep are passing through severe food shortage and unemployment.They are on the verge of mass starvation and death. Indefinite curfew has prevented fishing and other jobs. They should be given free ration and necessary financial support. They are Indian citizens,” MP wrote on Twitter.

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.

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