Tuesday, Jan 25, 2022
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Lakshadweep Row: Kerala Congress Leaders Denied Permission To Visit Islands

In its order denying permission to a group of Kerala Congress leaders, the Lakshadweep administration said their visit might ‘disturb’ the peaceful atmosphere of the region.

Lakshadweep Row: Kerala Congress Leaders Denied Permission To Visit Islands
MPs Hibi Eden and TN Prathapan protest Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel’s recent reforms in front of the Lakshadweep Administration office in Kochi. -

Amid protests against Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel’s new measures, the Islands’ administration on Saturday denied permission to Kerala Congress leaders to visit Lakshadweep stating that such a visit will "disturb" the peaceful atmosphere of the region.

Locals in Lakshadweep have been protesting and seeking the repeal of the proposed Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation and the Lakshadweep Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation (PASA or the Goondas Act).

Islanders have claimed that these new measures seek to put an end to their unique culture. Social media has been flooded with #SaveLakshadweep, with thousands people including celebrities and politicians trending the hashtag.

Amid these developments, additional district magistrate S Asker Ali, in his order denying permission for Congress leaders T N Prathapan, Hibi Eden MP, and C R Rakesh Sharma, the national legal advisor of All India Fishermen Congress party, to enter the islands, said their purpose of visit "appears to be a political action".

"...the purpose of visit has been stated as to understand the problems faced by the islanders due to the new policies of the Administrator" which appears to be a political action," the order said.

According to the order, a report submitted by the Lakshadweep police said that the visit is likely to instigate violent agitations in the islands and the same is part of a planned effort to disturb the peaceful atmosphere prevailing in the Lakshadweep islands.

"...it is stated that the proposed visit of MPs from Kerala to Lakshadweep is likely to cause unrest in the islands as the political parties and leaders from mainland have been making attempts to instigate local people, political parties/activists, social workers and people from different walks of life to oppose all administrative actions and to agitate against the Administration," it said.

According to the order, "avoiding disturbances" due to external interferences in the Union Territory, a scheduled area, is the bounden duty of the administration.

Meanwhile, the administration has also decided to "disengage" 151 casual labourers "upon the closure of tourist season on the onset of monsoon and consequently no tourism based activities...".

Expressing solidarity with the people of Lakshadweep, the Kerala Assembly had unanimously passed a resolution demanding the recall of island administrator Praful Khoda Patel and requesting the Centre's immediate intervention to protect the lives and livelihood of the islanders.

An archipelago located in the Arabian Sea, Lakshadweep has been witnessing protests by locals over the recent actions and administrative reforms being implemented by Patel.

(With PTI inputs)

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