AIKS calls for the sacking of Lakshadweep administrator Praful Patel

Decrying Patel for his draconian ateps to change food habits and culture of islanders, the organisation said his proposals violated the secular culture of the Muslim-dominated population.


Immediately sack Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Patel and restore the original laws of the union territory, said the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) on May 25, 2021 in response to Patel’s recent proposals to ban beef and introduce an anti-goonda act on the islands.

General Secretary Hannan Mollah condemned Patel for his controversial decisions since assuming office in December, 2020. He claimed that changes in existing laws of a region where Muslims comprise about 99 percent of the population goes against the secular fabric of the country and its Constitution. He also said that it points to the fascist intolerance to democratic protests. People protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (anti-CAA) by putting up posters were arrested soon after Patel took charge.

“In the name of reforms and schemes Patel is trying to destroy the harmonious life and unique culture of the people of Lakshadweep,” said Mollah.

This charge is particularly true in the case of agriculture and allied activities like fishing that will be adversely affected by the new laws. The Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation, 2021 bans slaughter of cattle, selling, transportation and buying of beef products. This means that slaughter of all bovines including bulls, bullocks, cows, calves, male and female buffaloes and buffalo calves will result in punishment ranging from seizing of vehicles and animals, to a minimum of 10 years imprisonment or a maximum punishment of life sentence and a fine of up to Rs. 5 lakh!

“This is a blatant onslaught on the people who depend on dairying and growing of cattle as a means of livelihood. It is also an infringement on their food habits and right to choice of food. Many people were terminated from the Department of Animal Welfare and the Department of Agriculture. Dairy farms under the administration have been ordered to close down,” said the AIKS.

Similarly, fisher folk that are among the main contributors to the island’s income, had their storage sheds full of nets and other equipment demolished by the new administration on the grounds that they violated the Coast Guard Act. These temporary buildings constructed under an exemption exclusive to fishermen were destroyed without any warning, resulting in huge loss for the community.

Culturally, the AIKS also condemns Patel’s unilateral decision to lift the restrictions on the use of alcohol, despite anger from islanders. Earlier, Lakshadweep was protected under special provisions that disallowed liquor sales.

In addition, the Lakshadweep Town and Country Planning Regulation 2021-TCPR 2021 has led to serious apprehensions regarding indiscriminate land acquisition in the name of infrastructure, buildings, engineering, mining, quarrying and other “developmental activities” on ecologically rich and sensitive islands. Previous laws restricted the purchase of land and visits to the islands without special permission from the administration.

Aside from these, the administrator also proposed drafts of the Lakshadweep Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation 2021 (allowing a person to be detained without public disclosure for up to a year), the Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulation, 2021 (banning people with more than two children from contesting in Panchayat elections, citing Lakshadweep’s low total fertility rate of 1.6) and the Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation, without due consultation with people.

“This is against the democratic ethos guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. The Administration has also closed about 38 anganwadis, hundreds of casual and contract labourers working under different departments including in mid-day meal scheme have been terminated. This is adding to the crisis in times of a pandemic,” said Mollah.

To make matters worse, the AIKS talked about Patel’s decision to change the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for preventing spread of Covid-19. The unscientific altering of the SOP saw an alarming rise in cases from zero in 2020 to thousands of cases, said the farmers’ organisation. According to the people-sourced Covid19India website, Lakshadweep reported 7,111 confirmed cases on Tuesday.


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