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Kerala Passes Resolution to Recall Lakshadweep Administrator Patel

CM Vijayan said that there was an attempt to destroy the indigenous lifestyle and ecosystem in Lakshadweep.

Updated
Politics
3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Patel and Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.</p></div>
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The Legislative Assembly in Kerala has moved a resolution expressing solidarity with the people of Lakshadweep and asking for the controversial Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Patel to be called back.

The resolution, presented by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has been passed unanimously.

What Is the Resolution?

Addressing the Assembly, CM Pinarayi asked for the Centre to intervene in the Lakshadweep issue. “It is the Union government’s responsibility to ensure that people's interest should be protected,” he said.

“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.”
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

The Chief Minister also said that there was an attempt to destroy the indigenous lifestyle and ecosystem in the archipelago and implement the "saffron agenda" through the backdoor.

"What is happening in Lakshadweep today is an experiment of the Sangh Parivar agenda," he said, adding that coconut trees there were painted with saffron colour as part of the agenda while moving the resolution. "The attempt is to impose and implement the saffron agenda and corporate interests in Lakshadweep," Vijayan said.

Earlier, there was a move to arrest the people who wrote banners against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the Chief Minister said. "The people of Lakshadweep live peacefully and treat their guests with a lot of love. In such a place where a crime rarely happens, they (Administrator) are bringing the Goonda Act. It is to face such protests (as the one against CAA) that such moves are made. An authoritarian rule has been growing in this manner," he said.

The Chief Minister also spoke about the administration’s “attempt” to destroy the local fishing industry which is the main source of income for people there. He also spoke about the proposed beef ban.

"In such ways, the reforms by the Administrator will kill the lives and culture of the people there bit by bit," Vijayan said.

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Pinarayi spoke about the district and village panchayats of Lakshadweep being brought under the Administrator and reducing their power. The reform to disallow those who have more than two children from contesting in Panchayat elections was also criticised by the Kerala CM.

He also touched upon the issue of allowing people outside the islands to buy land there.

There is also a move to destroy the deep bonds between Kerala and Lakshadweep, the CM pointed out.

Response From the Other Political Leaders

Opposition leader VD Satheesan said that the Opposition agrees in principle with the resolution moved by the Chief Minister. "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," he said.

Other United Democratic Front (UDF) leaders, including PT Thomas, N Samsudheen, and Anoop Jacob, and Communist Party of India (CPI) leader E Chandrasekharan also spoke in support of the resolution, suggesting a few amendments.

This is the first-ever resolution moved in the House after the second Vijayan government came to power achieving a resounding victory in the recent Assembly polls.

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Earlier, CPI(M) Members of Parliament from the state, including Elamaram Kareem, AM Ariff, and V Sivadasan, hit out against the administration of the Union Territory for denying them permission to visit the islands.

They alleged that their permission to visit Lakshadweep was rejected by the administration, citing the COVID-19 situation. There has been a simmering discontent building among the residents of Lakshadweep for the past six months, since the appointment of Praful Khoda Patel as the Administrator.

Residents on the islands and many from Kerala, including politicians and actors, have been strongly protesting the new administrative reforms brought in by Patel since December 2020, which, they say will destroy the traditional life and cultural diversity of Lakshadweep residents.

Many, including the Kerala government and legislative members, have also called for the removal of Patel from the post.

(This story was first published in The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)

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