Lakshadweep is one of eight Union Territories, which is under the newly appointed controversial Administrator. The Ganatantrik Adhikar Suraksha Sangathan, Odisha (GASS) is vehemently denouncing the repressive measures taken by the Administrator.
The Administrator since January has been taking various steps against the people of Lakshadweep like in name of bringing ‘reforms’ in the island it is actually bringing threat to the life and livelihood of the fishing community, is threatening all the activists and protestors of anti-CAA movement with newly introduced “Goonda Act “.
Mr. Praful Khoda Patel, the former BJP politician and a minister of Mr. Narendra Modi led Gujarat state cabinet was appointed as the Administrator of Lakshadweep on the death of Mr. Dineswar Sharma. He has relaxed the existing covid-19 regulations of Lakshadweep for the vested outside parties, especially the 14 days mandatory quarantine which has led to the rise of covid-19 cases in the island. The region which was almost free from COVID saw death of 20 persons in a very short time. The first COVID case was found in the region on 19 January 2021 and since then the COVID cases are rising. The known filmmaker Aisha Sultana criticized faulty COVID management of the Administrator for which she the charges of sedition has been imposed against her. It is really an autocratic step, which needs wide condemnation. .
Lakshadeep was more or less a covid-19 free area in first phase. The relaxed policies of the new Administrator has turned the area as equally affected. He has relaxed the 14 days quarantine measure for the outsiders. As a result, the covid-19 infection has already touched more than 1000 cases. For this, each and every person of Lakshadweep is accusing the new Administrator.
The island was always a peaceful place. But after such appointment, since January 2021, the island having population of seventy thousand has now become the turbulent place. In the name of “reform “, he is forcefully introducing certain repressive laws on behalf of the Union Government. Almost all the local residents are opposing these. Nevertheless, all these laws are undemocratic and against the interests of the people.
- Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulations, 2021 (LDAR): This proposed draft law is a draconian one. As per the provision, the authority can forcefully occupy anyone’s land for the purpose of ‘development’. Lakshadweep has a total area of 32 sq.km. The authority has designed planning to promote hotel and tourism industries only against the interest of the people.
- Prevention of Anti-social Activities, 2021 (PASA): This proposed law is more draconian and undemocratic in nature. Under the law, the Authority can book any person and keep him or her for a year without disclosing his/her identity. No modern democracy can accept such a bad law.
Lakshadweep is predominantly a Malayalam speaking and Muslim majority region. With the knowledge of Muslim majority population, Mr. Patel has imposed an unwanted restriction of trade and eating beef. He has already imposed restriction in fishing professionals. He has also been attacking the religious sentiment of the people. As a result, the day-to-day life of the people has been affected severely. A deep resentment among the common people is gradually increasing and taking the shape of mass resistance. Instead of looking at the sentiment of the people, the authority has started taking repressive measures like bringing the law like PASA. As per our constitution, each and every person has the right to choose his /her food and religion. No authority should interfere. Lakshadweep has 10 elected Panchayats to see its governance which have not been consulted before these laws are drafted.
The Ganatantrik Adhikar Suraksha Sangathan, Odisha demands;
- The draconian Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulations, 2021 (LDAR) and Prevention of Anti-social Activities 2021 (PASA) should be withdrawn.
- The Union Government should withdraw Mr. Praful Khoda Patel as Chief Administrator of Lakshadweep immediately.
- No law should be implemented without the approval of the Panchayats.
- All restrictions imposed against the local fishing community be withdrawn.
Deba Ranjan, General Secretary
Golak Bihari Nath, President