- India’s smallest Union Territory Lakshadweep is a tropical archipelago of 12 atolls and coral reef with an area of 32 sq km in the Laccadive sea, off the coast of Kerala, India.
- Lakshadweep, the group of 36 islands is known for its exotic and sun-kissed beaches and lush green landscape.
- The name Lakshadweep in Malayalam and Sanskrit means ‘a hundred thousand islands’.
- Residents with a population of 65,000 people and 97 percent of them are Muslims.
What is happening now?
- Praful Khoda Patel, the administrator of Lakshadweep islands, is facing opposition of the union territory and from various politicians over certain policies drafted by him recently.
- Since he took the Lakshadweep administration in December last year, Patel has pushed through a slew of new laws and regulations without consulting locally elected representatives in India’s only Muslim-majority territory apart from Indian-administered Kashmir
- Residents say the proposals threaten their livelihoods, culture, ownership and the ecology of the tropical islands.
- While the proposals are currently being opposed by the local peoples, opposition parties and many Social-Activist.
Proposed new measures:
1.Introduction of the Anti-Social Activities Regulation Bill, 2021
- PASA act was introduced in January 2021 and under this act any person can be detained for a period of up to one year without any public disclosure.
2.Beef Ban, Goonda Act.
- The government also introduced the draft Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation 2021, which if implemented will ban the slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks.
- The opposition is saying that even after being close to zero crime rates, the Goonda Act has been implemented under which alcohol restrictions are to be revoked.
3.Land Development Initiatives
- Since Lakshadweep is a Union Territory without an Assembly it is directly controlled by centre.
- The Act which if implemented will empower the government to take any piece of land owned by any common man in the island for “development” purposes.
4.Draft Panchayat notification
- According to this notification that has been issued, any member with more than two children cannot contest in panchayat election polls.
5.Cargo Diversion from Kerala to Mangalore
- They introduced measures diverting all Cargo to Mangalore.
- The move has been met with opposition because, prior to this, majority of the local businessmen relied on Beypore port in Kerala.