Wednesday, December 6, 2023

In brief: What’s happening in Lakshadweep?

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Ever since former Gujarat MoS Home Minister and Modi’s close confidant Praful Khoda Patel was appointed as Administrator late last year, Lakshadweep has been in unrest.

Protests are ongoing on the island and the mainland against the new law reforms introduced by the administration.

What exactly is happening in Lakshadweep? Here are the pointers.

1.Centralization of power

The authority of local bodies is restricted and their decision-making capacity is taken away. Education, Health, Farming, Fisheries, and Animal Protection will now be directly under the administrator.

2. Implementation of the Goonda Act

When Lakshadweep has the lowest crime rate in the country (& empty jails), a new act is put forward by the administration. People believe this is to target those protesting against union government policies.

3. SoP’s Changed

Lakshadweep had zero covid cases in all of 2020. The new administration changed the SoP and the covid cases have skyrocketed since. Now, a total of 6,418 positive cases, 22 deaths!

4. Demolishing Fisherman Sheds

At a place where fishing is the main source of income, the administration is demolishing the temporary sheds built by fishermen to store their nets and equipment citing the Coast Guard Act. Many of these sheds were demolished overnight without notice. It’s to be noted that all these sheds were there for decades and were built with permission from the previous administration.

5. Arrests of anti-CAA/NRC protesters

People who protested against CAA/NRC earlier are being arrested now. People who had erected anti-CAA/NRC boards earlier are being picked up and charged.

6. Beef Ban

Non-vegetarian items are being removed from the school food menu. Remember, 99% of the Lakshadweep population are Muslims.

A new regulation criminalizing the slaughter of cattle and transportation and trade of beef products. Even slaughter of other animals will require prior permission. Diary products from Gujarat are ‘expected to replace’ the local production.

7. Restrictions in contesting polls

People with more than 2 kids will not be able to contest in local body elections. A new draft law is introduced to disqualify/ban panchayat members with more than 2 kids.

8. Local employees terminated

Hundreds of contract and casual workers employed by government offices are being terminated. Mid-day meal workers, physical education teachers are removed and 38 Anganwadis are closed. 190 workers in the tourism sector lost their job.

9. Cutting the ‘Kerala’ ties

Freight transit through Beypore port in Kerala is restricted. It’s widely viewed as a move to cut traditional ties with the state.

10. Alcohol, in the name of tourism

Alcohol was banned in Lakshadweep until now. Now, those restrictions are taken away in the name of tourism.

11. Expanding road, despite the low traffic

The administration is moving forward with the widening of roads, in a manner in which many homes and buildings will have to be demolished. The island only has very few vehicles due to the small geographical borders.

12. Paving the path for largescale investors

The administration intends to promote large-scale private tourism ventures. This move will displace the local tourism sector.

Opposition parties and celebrities have unanimously raised their voice against ill-thought-out decisions and reforms of the administration and asked the central government to call back the administrator.

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Naseel Voici
Naseel Voici
Naseel Voici is the founder editor of Maktoob

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