Recently, Communists in Kerala have passed a resolution to recall the administrator of Lakshadweep Islands. Since taking over as administrator of Archipelago Lakshadweep, Lt Gov. Patel has introduced three reforms for the development of Lakshadweep and is currently on public review. However, Communists in Kerala think otherwise. Communists dominated Kerala along with other organization who are sympathizers of Communists and Congress party holding protests in the name of “Save Lakshadweep”. As the situation is politically charged; some aspects of the reforms are worth to be looked into during this controversy.
Lakshadweep’s new draft regulations:
The proposed Lakshadweep Prevention of Anti-Social Regulation 2021 is much similar to laws made in States like Andhra, Telangana, TamilNadu , Kerala. The proposed draft law is not even stringent as the laws enacted in other states. In-fact, the draft law empowers the administration to order preventive detention of a “bootlegger, “depredator of environment”, “drug offender”, “property grabber”. Interestingly, all these terms were taken from Kerala Anti-Social Activities Act 2007 framed by the previous communist government. Now, the question arises on why the Lakshadweep Anti- Social Prevention Regulation 2021 is needed when the communists claim the islands are largely peaceful?
As Lakshadweep is a union territory located in Indian Oceans strategically important for India on many reasons. As these islands stretches with a 200 KM funnel referred to as a Nine-degree Channel is an important Sea Lane communication that links Persian Gulf with South East Asia. Indian Naval command located in Kochi keep a strict vigil in this area considering the importance of trade and other security reasons. In the past, Western Naval command has seized illegal berthing of foreign vessels and this is a security concern for India. Apart from that, Indian intelligence reports suggests that as many as 15 ISIS terrorists may have entered Indian waters from SriLankan boats. These islands are always being monitored by coast guards although India does not want to become impediment to global trade but Indian navy superior in the Indian Ocean region keeps a strict vigil at the entry and exit points to monitor any mis adventure by People Liberation Army and its suspicious activities.
Apart from that the propaganda narrative about the liquor sales in the islands has been the talk of the town. While the next-door Maldives also have similar environment drew more attention from international travelers than India’s Lakshadweep. While introducing the liquor in the resorts is a new step taken to boost tourism and encourage the local talent, the hue and cry of communists is laughable as they themselves revoked the ban on Liquor sales in Kerala imposed by previous Congress Government in the state. If liquor consumption is against island’s majority religion Islam, then Maldives too has Islam as majority religion.
Apart from that, Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulation Act 2021 propose to implement strict two child policy in the islands to contest for Panchayat elections, government jobs etc. This regulation is in par with any other state in the main land including Kerala where communists govern the state.
Another contentious regulation which Communists and Congress party workers oppose is against the ban on beef. While the new regulation “Lakshadweep Animal prevention Act 2021” is pretty similar to the regulations in place in main land India, the regulation seeks to take strict action against illegal slaughter houses, Illicit trade of animals, while it encourages to use Fish which is island’s main food and as well encourages the local fishermen. This proposed regulation is indeed similar to Maharashtra Government regulation and Bombay High Court upheld the law enacted by the state.
It’s interesting to see that communists in Kerala have managed to gain enough propaganda on Lakshadweep new regulations considering its inclination to appease the Kerala Islamic organizations and strengthen its vote bank. However, on contrary the district collector of Lakshadweep islands Asker Ali in an interview have clearly mentioned that there is a lot of misconception in understanding the laws proposed and highlighted the misinformed details and stressed that these new regulations will strengthen the security, tourism and hospitality industry.