Lakshadweep has India’s lowest percentage of population, with only about 65,000 people living on ten of the 36 islands. It has a decadal rate of population growth of 6.23%, which is significantly lower than the national average of 17.70%. How would it make sense to introduce a new rule, the Draft Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulation 2021, that prohibits parents who have more than 2 kids from running local body elections in a rather such place?
The archipelago’s largest island, Andrott, has a maximum width of somewhat more than a km. The archipelago’s 36 islands have a combined surface area of only 32 sq. km. Vehicles are merely a minimal minimum requirement. How will it make any sense to enable uncontrolled highway development and growth in the Lakshadweep Development Authority (LDA), which would have to tear down hundreds of trees and bulldoze multiple dwellings in densely inhabited clusters?
All these are a few of the bold moves suggested by its new administrator, Praful Khoda Patel, that have turned Lakshadweep, once hailed as a haven of peace and tranquillity, into a tumultuous place rife with protests.
Celebrities such as Malayalam film actor Prithviraj Sukumaran, as well as practically every legislator from Kerala, have joined the anti-Patel protests. Kerala’s news stations are airing discussions on the matter during prime time. Hundreds of islanders as well as mainlanders are debating the administrator’s actions on Twitter Spaces for hours, not always about the administrator’s actions, but rather about the delicate identity of becoming an islander.
None of which were the traditional last straw. In Lakshadweep, there had been a Standard Operating Procedure in place to prevent COVID-19 cases till the end of December. Outsiders entering the islands were required to have a negative RT-PCR test result, followed by a week-long home quarantine. The SOP was well-received by the public, and it is credited with keeping Lakshadweep free of COVID-19. The first incidence of covid-19 was documented in Lakshadweep on the 18th of January, 8 days only after SOP was amended and a year since the pandemic decimated the globe. The number of instances has now exploded, and individuals are in excruciating pain. A high COVID-19-positive rate in such a place as Lakshadweep is significant because the island’s tiny land area and high population density may allow the virus to spread quicker than normal.
In any case, there are not too many hospitals that specialize in providing specialized care. Many people travel to the mainland for advanced medical treatments. In the case of an out-of-control pandemic, how much can an administration airlift? The administrator has faced a visceral reaction this week over the removal of the COVID-19 SOP, which has taken a toll on islanders.
He squandered a one-year attempt, according to Dil Sabith, a local who is now studying for his doctorate in Andaman. Over the call, one could almost hear his voice shaking with rage. His house is situated on a 3km long island. They lived close to one another. As a result, if only one person becomes infected, it will be as if firecrackers had gone off. He spent two months in room quarantine when he went in March of last year and didn’t have any issues. Sabith also stated that it was for their land and people.
Kerala shows its support for the Lakshadweep people
Kerala expressed support for the people of Lakshadweep who are opposing the administrator’s questionable conduct on Thursday. There have been signs that a resolution showing solidarity with the citizens of Lakshadweep would be passed during the current session of the state parliament. The Speaker’s Office has begun to look into the proceedings.
On the 28th of May, the legislature will meet for the Governor’s annual policy address. The policy statement will be discussed the following day. Following that, the Speaker is considering whether to pass a resolution expressing sympathy for the people of Lakshadweep.
The agitation in Lakshadweep is backed by all major parties excluding the BJP. The motion will be approved by the full MLAs of the ruling party as well as the opposition because the BJP does not have a member in the house. A joint resolution opposing the CAA Bill was also passed by the Kerala Assembly. Shafi Parampil, a member of the parliament, has previously urged that the legislature pass a resolution helping the people of Lakshadweep in their fight.