Lakshadweep is an archipelago of almost 36 islands in the Arabian Sea. The Union Territory has recently been in the spotlight due to the protests of the localities of the island.
The Union Territory of Lakshadweep has been bombarded with controversial proposals by Praful K Patel, the Administrator of the islands. Praful Patel, a former MLA from Gujarat took charge of the islands in December last year after the demise of Dineshwar Sharma. He is also the Administrator of Dadar and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
The public expressed their disagreement with the proposals of the administrator by taking to social media with a trending hashtag #SAVELAKSHADWEEP. There are tweets about how these impositions are a violation of the religious and cultural sentiments of the residents of Lakshadweep. The slew of measures taken by the Administrator has raised a storm in Lakshadweep. The netizens have also coined the phrase “Lakshadweep is burning” after the acts of its Administrator came to light.
The localities have alleged that sweeping changes have been introduced in the name of tourism development. While the Administrator, Praful Patel claims that these proposals are aimed at ensuring the safety and well-being of the residents along with the promotion of tourism in the islands, the residents have to say otherwise. The residents view these proposals as an act of destroying the essence of the island’s culture and traditions.
The few proposals of the Administrator are stated as follows:
Cow slaughter and Beef
The Administrator seeks to impose a ban on the slaughter of cows, calf, bulls, etc. without a certificate from the competent authority to carry out the same. Sale, transport, and storage of beef and its products to be prohibited. Penalties for disobeying these laws will be a jail term of up to 1 year and a fine of Rs. 10,000. The residents protested against this as they considered it to be an infringement of their culture and eating habits and accused that the rules were not decided with the consultation of the local bodies.
Liquor to be served to tourists at resorts on inhabited islands according to the proposal of the Administrator. This could lead to the proliferation of liquor sales on the island. Liquor is prohibited on all inhabited islands and is served only on the uninhabited island of Bangaram.
On Friday, the regulations proposed by the Administrator invoked protests by Muslim League in Kerala. The protests were held in Kochi following the guidelines of COVID protocol. Leaders of the Indian Union Muslim League, Member of Parliament, E.T Mohammed Basher, and State General Secretary, P.M.A Salam wrote to the administrator of Lakshadweep, Praful Patel termed the regulations as “illegal, draconian and undemocratic”. They sought immediate withdrawal of the regulations curtailing the rights of the residents of Lakshadeep. 96% of Lakshadweep’s population are Muslims and ethnically similar to the people of Kerala and also speak Malayalam.
What Twitter users have to say about issues faced by residents of Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep is India’s jewel in the ocean.
The ignorant bigots in power are destroying it.
I stand with the people of Lakshadweep.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 26, 2021
— Satish Acharya (@satishacharya) May 27, 2021
— Mammootty Media™ (@MammoottyMedia) May 27, 2021
Took part in the protest called by Muslim League in solidarity with people of Lakshadweep.
— Dr. M.K. Muneer (@MKMUNEER) May 28, 2021
Priti Gandhi, national in charge of Social Media, BJP Mahila Morcha in her article addressing the social media protests on Save Lakshadweep said, “Let us not get misguided by the noise created by the leftist political parties that shun growth, development, and prosperity. Let us not fall for the divisive politics of the Congress that is deliberately peddling fear and creating a panic in their one-point agenda to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And finally, let us just use our common sense to analyse how, with proper planning, Lakshadweep can thrive and become the jewel in India’s crown!”
DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author