photo - Daily Mail India

Rahul Gandhi urges PM to roll back decisions of Lakshadweep administrator

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wrote to the Prime Minister on Thursday, seeking withdrawal of the recent decisions of the administrator of Lakshadweep, Praful Khoda Patel, which he said sought to penalise dissent and undermine grassroots democracy.

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

Gandhi drew the PM’s attention to the ongoing public protest in the Union Territory against these “arbitrary actions”.

He said the provisions in the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation “undermine safeguards pertaining to land ownership, dilute environmental regulations for certain activities and severely limit legal recourse available to affected persons”.

He accused Patel of sacrificing livelihood security and sustainable development for short-term commercial gains, questioned and termed “blatantly anti-democratic” the proposed draft panchayat regulation that disqualifies members with more than two children.

In an indirect reference to the moves to impose beef eating and protesting the introduction of the Anti-Goonda Act and move to lift prohibition in the hugely Muslim-majority island, Gandhi wrote, “The proposed changes to regulations like Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation, the Lakshadweep Animals Preservation Regulation and lifting of restrictions on sale of alcohol are a deliberate assault on the cultural and religious fabric of the local community.”

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He also lamented the attempt to cut the island’s traditional cultural and social ties with Beypore port in Kerala.

“I request you to intervene in this matter and ensure that the abovementioned orders are withdrawn.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

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