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Why 'impose' Goonda Act on Lakshadweep, which has no crime, no locks on doors?

By Our Representative 

An online open forum of political and social activists has given a call to “protect” social, cultural, economic and environmental rights of Lakshadweep from what most participants described as “looming threat of the agenda of right-wing BJP and its allies in the Central government.” Part of the daily Satyagraha dialogue series on “Lakshadweep, the burning heart", the forum was hosted by the Socialist Party (India).
Insisting that the Bio Diversity Act should also be invoked as in tribal area land alienation cannot be done as per law, the participants questioned the appointment of administrator of Lakshadweep Praful Patel, a politician, “who is not from the administrative service which is contrary to the practice so far where Lakshadweep being a Union territory had always a retired administration official as its administrator.”
They said, it is inadmissible for an administrator to declare that he wants Lakshadweep to be changed like Maldives with the allocation of Rs 700 crore, which would include Rs 250 crore Central subsidy, allowing investors to get land on 100 year lease for tourism development. “More than 95% population is Muslim and most of them are from the scheduled tribe (ST) category. Hence the ST Act should be invoked for the loss of livelihood”, it was pointed out.
The participants included Thampan Thomas, ex-MP, Kerala; Justice Shamsuddeen, retired judge Kerala High Court; Adiraja Muhammad Rafi, Arakkal Dynasty; Pannalal Surana, national president, Socialist Party (India); Sunilam, ex-MLA and convenor of Samajwadi Samagam; Magsaysay award winning social activist Dr Sandeep Pandey; Sadiq, Convenor-Save Lakshadweep Forum, among others.
The participants said, Lakshwadeep’s ecology, culture, social fabric, and good governance have proven to be “phenomenal”. With a population of around 70,000, their identity should be preserved not just for Lakshadweep sake but for the sake of entire world. Out of 27 Lakshadweep islands, 10 of them are inhabited. Fishing and coconut harvesting are the main sources of livelihood.
They pointed out, Lakshadweep seems to be a unique place where there is no crime, no locks on doors, no liquor, and there is commendable degree of social harmony, yet the national government seems to be bent upon forcing liquor and Goonda Act on a place with lowest crime. “Why is Goonda Act introduced in a place where prisons are empty and crime is at lowest rate?”, they wondered.
There are no inequities in income. Measures forced upon the islanders will threaten not just social harmony but also ecology and human rights
Pointing out that Lakshadweep islands are surrounded by lagoons and its environmentally sensitive area, they said, “There are no inequities in income here. The measures forced upon the islands will threaten not just the social harmony but also ecology and human rights of the people”, wondering why “Lakshadweep panchayats have been overridden.”
The participants said with the new rules, Lakshadweep fundamental rights such as right to equality Article 19, right to livelihood Article 21 and right to cultural freedom Article 29 have been “trampled upon”, adding, this is one reason why the islanders have formed Save Lakshadweep Forum and have decided to take legal recourse.
Praising the Kerala for passing a resolution against the new administrator and rules, the participants said, “All other states and union territories should also follow this precedence set by Kerala and stand united to save Lakshadweep. Destroying the ecosystem these islands is akin to destroying the life there.”
Regretting that after the administrator took over in January this year, Lakshadweep islands, which were free from the deadly coronavirus disease, the number of people infected has risen to 6,000, the participants said, “Right to ownership of land is also being taken away from the natives. While the local citizens do not want liquor in their islands, new administrator introduces liquor against people wishes in the name of tourism.”

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