Lakshadweep crisis: Rahul Gandhi writes to PM Modi demanding withdrawal of ‘anti-people policies’

Lakshadweep crisis: Rahul Gandhi writes to PM Modi demanding withdrawal of ‘anti-people policies’

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The former Congress president also drew PM Modi’s attention to the draft Panchayat Regulation proposed by Patel.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the new regulations proposed by Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Khoda Patel. In a letter to the PM, Rahul Gandhi sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention, saying the rules seek to penalise dissent and undermine grassroots democracy.

“Lakshadweep’s pristine natural beauty and its unique confluence of cultures have drawn people for generations. The custodians of its heritage seek to safeguard the archipelago for posterity. However, their future is threatened by the anti-people policies announced by the administrator of Lakshadweep, Shri Praful Khoda Patel. The administration has unilaterally proposed sweeping changes without duly consulting elected representatives or the public. The people of Lakshadweep are protesting against these arbitrary actions,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi said the administrator’s attempt to undermine the ecological sanctity of the island is evident in the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation issued recently. “The provisions undermine safeguards pertaining to land ownership, dilute environmental regulations for certain activities and severely limit legal recourse available to affected persons. Livelihood security and sustainable development are being sacrificed for short-term commercial gains,” he said.

The former Congress president also drew PM Modi’s attention to the draft Panchayat Regulation proposed by Patel. “The provision in the draft Panchayat Regulations that disqualifies members with more than two children is anti-democratic. Furthermore, proposed changes to regulations like Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation, the Lakshadweep Animals Preservation Regulation and lifting of restrictions on the sale of alcohol are deliberate assaults on the culture and religious fabric of the local community,” said Gandhi. It may be noted that Lakshadweep is a Muslim majority island.

He said the attempt to cut ties with the Beypore port strikes at the close historical and cultural ties with Kerala. Despite the pandemic, the administration has demolished structures used by the fisherfolk, fired contractual workers in various government departments, and relaxed quarantine norms leading to a lethal spike in Covid cases, he charged.

“Under the guise of development and maintaining law and order in a low crime union territory, the draconian regulations penalise dissent and undermine grassroots democracy,” Gandhi told the prime minister in his letter.

“I request you to intervene in this matter and ensure that the above-mentioned orders are withdrawn. The people of Lakshadweep deserve a developmental vision that respects their way of life and reflects their aspirations,” Gandhi said in the letter.

Earlier, Congress leader KC Venugopal had written to President Ram Nath Kovind demanding the immediate recall of the Lakshadweep administrator.

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