Kerala MP asks President to recall ‘anti-people’ Lakshadweep administrator

Flagging various issues in the and union territory of Lakshadweep, Rajya Sabha member of Parliament from Kerala Elamaram Kareem on Sunday accused the island’s administrator Praful Patel of “destroying the traditional life and culture” of the place. In a letter to President of India Ramnath Kovind, Kareem requested him to “urgently call back” Patel.

Kareem stated that Praful Khoda Patel, who is known to be a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is acting with an “ulterior motive to destroy the traditional life and culture of the island”. The Rajya Sabha MP also alleged that Patel’s policies led to an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Lakshadweep island, which is 97% Muslim in terms of population.

“Patel was appointed as the administrator on December 5, 2020 as soon as he assumed office, he unilaterally changed the standard operating procedure which was in force on the island for preventing the spread of the pandemic. According to the people of the island, the unplanned and unscientific altering of SOP has led to the current surge in Covid cases in Lakshadweep, where not even a single case was reported in the year 2020,” Kareem wrote in the letter.

Kareem also said that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in force in the union territory to curtail COVID-19’s spread was “unilaterally changed” by Patel. “This unplanned and unscientific altering of the SOP has led to the current surge in Covid cases in Lakshadweep where there was not even a single case reported in the year 2020,” his letter stated, on the issue.

Moreover, he also alleged that orders and promulgations issued by the administration under the current Patel lacked “consideration towards the people, their choice of food and their livelihood”. Kareem was referring to a regulation which intends to ban slaughter, transportation, selling or buying of beef products. “This is a blatant onslaught on the people who depend on dairy and the growing of bovine as a means of livelihood. Neither the island community nor the local bodies on the island ever raised such a demand and they were never consulted during such regulations being framed,” he added.

The Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala further alleged that the Lakshadweep under Patel has demolished sheds used by fishermen for storing nets and other equipment on the grounds saying that they violated Coast Guards acts. “Administration has also decided that islanders should no longer depend on Beypore (Kerala) for freight transit. Instead, they should depend on Mangalore (Karnataka) for this purpose,” he said in his letter.