Lakshadweep Withdraws Heightened Security Order After Criticism
Calling the decisions a “mockery,” Lakshadweep MP had urged the authorities to withdraw the decisions immediately.
Amid brewing anger over the new decisions taken by the Lakshadweep administration, the Director of Port, Shipping and Navigation Sachin Sharma withdrew the 28 May order, which directed for the deployment of government staff on fishing boats for intelligence gathering.
Sharma also reversed the order by which security around ports, jetties, ships, and other vessels was to be raised to level-2.
In an email to the Deputy Director (S&T) Kochi, all assistant directors, all port assistance on land, the CSO of Lakshadweep Development Corporation Ltd (LDCL) and Assistant Commandant of CISF in Kochi on 7 June, Sharma cited orders of 28 May and 2 June and said that “as per further inputs, all concerned may revert back to standard protocol and SOPs (standard operating procedures) (sic),” The Hindu reported.
The decision for surveillance through fishing boats was taken in a meeting chaired by Principal Secretary cum Advisor to Administrator Praful K Patel on 28 May.
It was also decided that security measures to monitor local fishing boats and crew will be strengthened. Further, instructions would have been issued to intensify checking of motorised vessels reaching the islands and CCTV cameras would have been installed at vessel berthing points and at helipads, the report added.
‘Lack of Trust in Fishers’
Meanwhile, the Lakshadweep Government Employees’ Union had shown disagreement with the order, which asked for government officials to go onboard fishing vessels. The order was criticised by fishers’ forums as well.
Calling the decisions a “mockery,” Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal had urged the authorities to withdraw the decisions immediately.
Faizal was quoted as saying, “The decision of the Lakshadweep Administration to deploy government officials on board fishing vessels under the garb of stepping up coastal surveillance speaks of lack of trust in fishers, and is among the latest of Centre’s undue interventions made in the life of islanders,” the report added.
Explaining why the deployment of government officials in fishing vessels has no rationale, Faizal had said that the Navy and Coast Guard already have considerable presence in the islands. Meanwhile, the Navy has establishments in the islands of Minicoy and Kavaratti.
(With inputs from The Hindu)
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