Amidst the raging controversy over the “modernisation” of Lakshadweep, the Union Territory’s Administrator, Praful Khoda Patel is set to reach the islands on Monday, and stay there till June 20.
The “Save Lakshadweep Forum”, an umbrella group of local activists and opposition politicians who have been in the forefront of agitations against the new reforms of the Administrator, have already announced that they would stage protest marches in the islands.
Ever since Patel, a former Gujarat Home Minister, assumed office as the Administrator, there have been concerted protests against his style of functioning with the opposition charging that he is bent on destroying the culture of the island, a charge denied by the Administrator’s office.
Lakshadweep District Collector S. Askar Ali told IANS that the Administrator is reaching on Monday and will continue to stay there till Sunday. “He will be reviewing a slew of projects in power sector, hospitals, and schools at the Agatti, Kavaratti, Minicoy, Androth and Kalpeni islands.”
While Members of Parliament from Kerala had petitioned the Administrator to allow them to visit the islands to have a first-hand study on the new measures being implemented, film maker Aisha Sultana, a native of Lakshadweep, was slapped with sedition charges after she made an observation during discussion in a television channel that the Union government had used “Bio Weapon” on the people of Lakshadweep.
Sultana had later come out with a statement that she had some network problems while speaking at the television debate and that she had used the term “Bio Weapon” for Patel.
Lakshadweep is inhabited almost entirely by Muslims, and coming to their support, political leaders and parties from Kerala have been conducting several protest marches across the state and had burnt the Administrator in effigy in front of his office at Ernakulam.
“The Lakshadweep Administrator is planning something massive which will destroy the culture of the island and the lives of the people of this serene place,” CPI-M MP, Elamaram Kareem told IANS.
“This is a highly eco-sensitive place and highly fragile and any constructions like huge resorts will have a negative impact on the ecology of the region. The Administrator is acting like a dictator and is not listening to the voices of the people of Lakshadweep.”