First coconut trees painted saffron, now livelihood, culture threatened: Pinarayi Vijayan on Lakshadweep Admin

Kerala Assembly has unanimously passed a resolution demanding the urgent removal of new Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel. The resolution was moved by Chief Minister of the state


Kerala Assembly has unanimously passed a resolution demanding the urgent removal of new Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel. The resolution was moved by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, against a series of measures adopted and proposals made by Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel. According to news reports the resolution states, “In the name of promoting tourism, the culture and essence of Lakshadweep itself is being negated.” 

Adding that the Union Territory administration is “officially sabotaging the basic responsibility of protecting the lives of people” and that residents of the islands are concerned about the attempts to “encroach upon their cultural and specific features”.

The resolution was unanimously passed in Kerala Legislative Assembly seeking the removal of Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Patel to be called back. According to news reports, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, asked for the Union government to take cognisance of and intervene, “It is the Union government’s responsibility to ensure that people’s interest should be protected… The Administrator, who is challenging the interests of the people, must be removed and the Centre must take immediate action to protect the lives and the livelihood of people of Lakshadweep.” He added that the new proposals were an attempt to foist the right wing’s saffron agenda, the goings on at Lakshadweep he said was “an experiment of the Sangh Parivar agenda”. 

According to a report in India Today, the CM said, “It began with painting coconut trees saffron and now it has reached a stage where the livelihood, culture of the people is being affected.” The Kerala CM said an attempt is also being made for corporate interests in Lakshadweep. He recalled that the administration had moved to arrest protestors who made banners against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The Chief Minister said that Lakshadweep is a place where a crime rarely happens, yet the Administrator is bringing the Goonda Act. According to the CM, “It is to deal with such protests (as the one against CAA) that such moves are made.”

He also alleged that the Administration was trying to destroy the fishing industry, the local’s primary source of income. On the proposed beef ban, which is being seen as a trademark right wing move to impact the Muslim, Christian popultion as well, the CM said, “The Administrator will kill the lives and culture of the people there bit by bit.”

Even the Kerala Opposition agrees with the CM

Opposition leader VD Satheesan told the media that, “A cultural invasion is happening in Lakshadweep by the Union government through the Administrator, forcing anti-democratic ways and destroying human rights of the innocent people of Lakshadweep.” According to news reports this is the first resolution to be moved in the House since the new government was elected.

Why are MPs not allowed to visit the islands?

Speaking to SabrangIndia CPI(M) Member of Parliament (RS) from Kerala, Elamaram Kareem, said the Patel administration had cited Covid-19 protocol to prevent him, and other leaders such as AM Ariff and V Sivadasan, from visiting  the islands. “We are not going as tourists, we are MPs, and want to see the situation first hand and talk to the people. We will carry Rt-Pcr reports as needed for travel, but as Parliamentarians we cannot be stopped from travelling to the Union Territory,” he said. The political unrest and the protests against  Administrator Praful Khoda Patel is not sudden, it has been simmering on the Lakshadweep for the past six months, since Patel’s appointment. Now the delegation of MPs’s who were planning to visit Lakshadweep were told to “plan the proposed visit on a later date”. 

They just want to keep us away from speaking to the people at Lakshadweep and see the reality said Kareem. The letter of denial as it were came from the Additional District Magistrate, Collectorate, Kavaratti. It informed the MPs that there was a mandatory seven day quarantine for visitors from the mainland under the Covid-19 Protocol that is in place. However, it did not stop there and let the MPs decide on the quarantine, but advised them to “visit on a later date,” adding that the administration “would like to host you in the islands as and when the COVID situation improves in the islands.” However Kareem alleged that Lakshadweep administration was using the protocol to  “hide reality”.  “We are going for an investigation, a fact-check visit to see the impact of the proposed “reforms”. We are not going for tourism,” said Kareem, who is leader of CPM MPs in the Rajya Sabha. 

He said the three-member delegation of MPs from Kerala that apart from him included V Sivadasan (Rajya Sabha) and A M Ariff are going to continue seeking a way to visit the islands soon as elected Members of Parliament, “it is our right to visit any place in the country and we expect the authorities concerned of the UT of Lakshadweep will facilitate our visit,” Kareem’s told SabrangIndia. Meanwhile, Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal told SabgrangIndia that he was going to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday and request him to urgently recall Prafull Khoda Patel as the Administrator of the islands.


Lakshadweep: Praful Khoda Patel’s proposals will destroy life of the people
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