Accusing Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Patel of destroying the heritage of the island territory, harassing its people and imposing arbitrary rules, the Congress and Left on Tuesday demanded his immediate recall.
A raft of draft regulations for Lakshadweep cleared by the Administrator has triggered widespread protests in the Union Territory. The proposals include a ban on beef to disqualification of panchayat poll aspirants with more than two children, introduction of an anti-goonda Act and establishment of a development authority with powers to acquire land.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the people of Lakshadweep deeply understand and honour the rich natural and cultural heritage of the islands they inhabit and have always protected and nurtured it.
“The BJP government and its administration have no business to destroy this heritage, to harass the people of Lakshadweep or to impose arbitrary restrictions and rules on them. Dialogue sustains democracy. Why can’t the people of Lakshadweep be consulted? Why can’t they be asked what they believe is good for them and for Lakshadweep? How can someone who knows nothing about their heritage be allowed to use his power to destroy it?” she said.
Addressing a press conference, Congress general secretary Ajay Maken said the Congress had been demanding the removal of the Administrator.
CPI general secretary D Raja said the “BJP government at the Centre has been misusing the constitutional authorities, including the Governors, to implement its Hindutva agenda and topple democratically elected governments”. “It has been doing so in West Bengal, Puducherry, other states and UTs. The latest is its misuse of the administration in Lakshadweep. Lakshadweep is an island and the majority of the population there is of Muslims. The administrator has started dictating what the people of the island should eat. The people are annoyed, angry and upset over the happenings,” he said and asked the President to “take note of the misuse of official machinery by the BJP government”.
Urging the President to take steps to end what he called “anti-constitutional moves”, Raja demanded the immediate recall of the administrator.