Ernakulam: Raising concerns over policies introduced by Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Khoda Patel, Congress leader and Kerala MP Hibi Eden has written to President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah urging them to "protect the interests and culture of the islanders."
Patel, who was appointed as the Administrator of Lakshadweep in December 2020 is facing opposition over policies introduced by him from the people of the union territory and politicians, both from within Lakshadweep and neighbouring state Kerala,
In his letter, Eden said that the people of Lakshadweep are ethnically similar to Keralites and thousands of students from the Island depend on Kerala for their higher education and the appointment of Patel as the new Lakshadweep Administrator in December 2020 and the reforms followed by his appointment has drawn protest among the islanders.
The Congress MP listed four "discriminative decisions" taken by Patel and said they are "against the interest of Lakshadweep Islands".
Eden raised objection on Lakshadweep Administrator's decision to take over the control of the Administrative powers of elected zilla panchayat regarding-- Education, Health care, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries.
He said many government contract employees in the tourism sector were terminated without any reason. "Majority of the 70000 people in this Island depend on fishing and government services, but the new administration demolished huts of fisherman accusing CRZ violation," he wrote.
Eden also raised objection on the new proposal to bring changes in Panchayat Regulations that will make any person with more than two children ineligible to contest Panchayat elections.
"Another proposed bill- the Lakshadweep Anti-Social Activities Regulation 2021 has caught up controversy because such harsh laws are unwarranted because the island has a very low crime rate. And many clauses are likely to be misused and may infringe on a person's legitimate rights. And many clauses are likely to be misused and may infringe on a person's legitimate rights," the Congress leader said.
He further listed that the decisions taken to divert all cargos to Mangalore by ending a long-lasting trade relation between the island and Beypore port of Kerala, the decisions to open Bars and foreign liquor, ban of beef and eliminating non-vegetarian food from the menu of Anganwadi Children are "some of the harsh and unwanted decisions taken by the new Administrator and he has been taking decisions that are against the interest of Lakshadweep Islands."
"Requesting your good self to intervene to protect the interests and culture of Islanders, create an environment to make them feel they are also an integral part of our country," Eden added.
On Monday, Congress had written to President Ram Nath Kovind alleging that the current Administrator of Lakshadweep Praful Patel had taken "authoritarian measures" and demanded his recall.
In a letter written to the President, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said that there is apprehension among the people of Lakshadweep and resultant widespread protests "owing to the authoritarian measures taken by the current Administrator Praful Patel"....