Over the past few days, the ‘Save Lakshadweep’ campaign has gained a lot of momentum on various social media platforms with netizens protesting a slew of new measures proposed by the islands’ administrator Praful Khoda Patel.
The measures have been met with opposition not just from the locals but also from people in Kerala including politicians, activists and actors.
But what is the outcry all about?
Patel, who is the administrator of the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, was given charge of Lakshadweep following the demise of Dineshwar Sharma in December last year.
Since then, he has proposed various new measures that have not gone down well the islanders, with the latter alleging that the new measures will destroy their unique lifestyle.
What are the proposed new measures?
1) Introduction of the anti-social Activities Regulation Bill, 2021
The government introduced a draft detention law called the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities, which if implemented can empower the administration to detain anyone without public disclosure for up to one year.
2) Beef Ban
The government also introduced the draft Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation 2021, which if implemented will ban the slaughter of cows, calfs of a cow, bulls and bullocks.
3) Land Development Initiatives
Since Lakshadweep is a Union Territory without an Assembly it is directly controlled by the Centre.
The administration introduced the Draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation, 2021, which if implemented will empower the government to take any piece of land owned by any common man in the island for “development” purposes.
4) Diversion of all cargo to Mangalore
The administration has introduced measures diverting all cargo to Mangalore. The move has been met with opposition because, prior to this, majority of the local businessmen relied on Beypore port in Kerala, a state with which the islanders have strong cultural ties.
5) Decision to allow functioning of liquor bars
Lakshadweep is a Muslim-majority region with Malayalam being the dominant language. The islands are non-alcoholic zones.
However, Patel gave his nod for businesses to open liquor bars in the island, stating that such a move will promote tourism.
The decision has been met with massive opposition by the locals.