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93 Former Civil Servants Write to Prime Minister to Express Concern about Events in Lakshadweep | India News


NEW DELHI: A group of 93 former officials wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, expressing “deep concern” over what they called “disturbing developments” in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep in the name of “development”.
They have urged the prime minister to ensure an appropriate development model, in consultation with the islanders, with an emphasis on access to safe health care, education and fair governance, among others.
Stating that Lakshadweep occupies a unique place in India’s geographic and cultural diversity, the group highlighted the drafts of three regulations introduced by PK Patel after assuming the additional position of Administrator of Lakshadweep in December 2020.
Patel is also the administrator for Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and for Daman and Diu.
Since taking office, he has submitted draft Lakshadweep Development Authority (LDAR) Regulations, Lakshadweep Anti-Social Activity Prevention Regulations (commonly known as PASA or the Goonda Act elsewhere), and Preservation Regulations. Lakshadweep Animal Law (LAPR), as well as an amendment to the Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulation that has generated widespread anxiety on the island and the nation at large, they said in the letter.
“These drafts have been submitted without local consultation and are currently in the hands of the Home Office, Government of India, for necessary approvals,” said the letter written by former public officials under the auspices of the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG).
A copy of the letter has been shared with the Minister of the Interior, Amit Shah and Environment, Forest and the Minister of Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar.
Stating that there has been no development in Lakshadweep for the past 70 years, the LDAR reflects a territorial and tourism development model that includes resorts, hotels and beach fronts in the “Maldives model” without taking into account the differences in size between the two groups of islands, population, number of islands and their extent, he said.
“We are writing to you today to record our deep concern over the disturbing developments taking place in the pristine Union Territory (UT) of Lakshadweep in the name of ‘development’,” the letter read.
Former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, former Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar, former Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, former Prime Minister TKA Nair’s adviser and former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah are among the 93 signatories.
Lakshadweep is an ecologically sensitive coral archipelago located off the coast of Malabar that consists of 36 islands (of which 10 are inhabited and one developed as a tourist center) spread over 32 square kilometers. in the Indian Ocean, with a Muslim majority population of around 65,000, matrilineal, mostly egalitarian and ethnically close to Kerala, from where it was ruled for much of its history, he said.
Concerns about land grabbing, predatory business development, and environmental destruction have been compounded by the draft PASA, a pre-trial detention regulation that allows the Administrator to detain anyone for up to one year for common crimes (such as antisocial behavior, smuggling drugs and smuggled liquor, engaging in immoral trafficking, land grabbing, cybercrime, sex crime or environmental damage), the group said.
“Other regulations proposed by the Administrator target the eating and dietary habits and religious mandates of local islanders, 96.5% of whom are Muslim,” he said.
The LAPR, if it becomes law, will effectively prohibit the slaughter of bovine animals and will prohibit the consumption, storage, transport or sale of cattle meat in an insular environment where there are inherent limits to livestock development, according to the letter.
Such bans do not apply to several northeastern states and even the neighboring state of Kerala, he said.
A ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol has been lifted in line with the religious sensibilities of the majority Muslim population, once again ostensibly to promote tourism, giving rise to both the ban on beef and the lifting of the ban. of alcohol an avoidable communal color in a sensitive maritime zone. region where disharmony between communities could harm national security, the letter said.
The changes proposed by the Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulation, 2021 for the elections to gram panchayats that will disqualify candidates with more than two children from seats for the gram panchayat have also been proposed without any local consultation or taking into account local sensitivities, he said. .
“Each of these measures does not smell of development, but rather arbitrary and alien policymaking, in violation of established practices that respect the environment and Lakshadweep society,” the letter said.
Taken together, the Administrator’s far-reaching actions and proposals, without due consultation with the islanders, constitute an attack on the very fabric of Lakshadweep’s society, economy and landscape as if the islands were just real estate for the tourists and tourism. investors from the outside world, he said.
“We urge that these measures be withdrawn immediately, that UT be provided with a full-time, people-sensitive and responsive administrator, and that an appropriate development model that emphasizes access to safe health care, education, governance. fair, food security and ecosystem-related livelihood options are established, in consultation with the islanders, based on achievements so far, ”the letter said.

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