As India struggles with the ongoing crisis, the people of Lakshadweep are fighting another battle of their own.
Praful Khoda Patel, who was appointed as the Administrator of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep by PM Narendra Modi in Dec 2020 has introduced some draconian laws in the Union Territory.
Who Is Praful Khoda Patel?
Praful Khoda Patel is a BJP leader from Gujarat, the son of Khodabhai Ranchhodbhai Patel who was a RSS leader and allegedly a close friend of Narendra Modi.
Prior to Amit Shah’s arrest, Praful Patel was inducted by Narendra Modi in his State Ministry and given 8 out of the 10 portfolios that Amit Shah was responsible for then.
In 2016 PM Narendra Modi appointed Praful Patel as the Administrator of Daman and Diu and shortly after added Dadra and Nagar Haveli to his portfolio.
He was the first politically appointed administrator in the history of Union Territories. Previously such positions have been held only by IAS Officers.
Lakshadweep Reform Controversy: What are the Laws introduced?
1. Draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021:
Under this draft, Patel proposes the Administrator (aka himself) have discretionary powers to remove or relocate the islanders from their own property for “town planning and development activity”
You can read the entire draft here: https://cdn.s3waas.gov.in/…/uploads/2021/04/2021042854.pdf
2. Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act (PASA) 2021:
Any person who is deemed an offender can be detained for a period of one year on the mere orders of the Administrator and an Advisory Board.
No one is allowed to sue the Administrator or the Authorized Officer for any such action taken.
All offences in this act are non-bailable irrespective of what the CrPc says.
You can read the entire draft here: https://cdn.s3waas.gov.in/…/uploads/2021/01/2021012971.pdf
In his defence, Patel claims that his only agenda is the development of Lakshadweep.
Well, if that is indeed the case then Praful Khoda Patel needs to realize that the development of a State or a Territory cannot be done by trampling on the fundamental rights of the people.
You cannot possibly claim to develop a piece of land while destroying the locals there, the original landowners, by going against their consent.
Disclaimer: A Territory is not defined merely by the geographical boundaries or the landmass it encompasses. It is defined by the people who have lived and toiled on that said territory. Claiming to develop the land by destroying the livelihood of the locals, is not the sign of an Administrator…it is a sign of a Tyrant.