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Ignorant bigots in power destroying Lakshadweep: Rahul Gandhi Lakshadweep Row
(From L to R) Praful Khoda Patel, Lakshadweep Island and Rahul Gandhi (Images: Praful Khoda Patel Facebook, Wikipedia and Rahul Gandhi Facebook)

Ignorant bigots in power destroying Lakshadweep: Rahul Gandhi

IBNS | @indiablooms | 26 May 2021, 07:31 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday joined the protest against Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel's reforms in the union territory that have opened a barrage of criticisms.

"Lakshadweep is India’s jewel in the ocean. The ignorant bigots in power are destroying it. I stand with the people of Lakshadweep," the top Congress leader tweeted.

Patel, a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), brought a number of new policies that have upset people, politicians of the union territory and also its neighbouring state Kerala.

Meanwhile, eight office bearers of Lakshadweep BJP resigned on Tuesday, causing an embarrassment for the country's ruling outfit, which has recently suffered a massive poll defeat in West Bengal.

Reforms

Patel, who was appointed by the BJP government at the Centre in Dec 2020, introduced the proposal of the implementation of the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act, or the Goonda Act in the union territory, which already has a lower crime rate.

As per media reports, locals fear that such an Act will enable the administration to arrest anyone without a trial.

In his explanation, Patel, who is the first politician to assume the administrator's post in a union territory, told The Print that people who have done nothing wrong should not be worried about the new Act.

"Only those who have committed a crime will be penalised, for the others it should not be an issue. In the rest of the country, under the Indian Penal Code there is Section 302 for a reason," he said.

The administrator has sought to bring changes in the panchayat regulations in Lakshadweep, which has no assembly or lawmakers directly elected by common people.

As per the new proposed reforms, any person, who has more than two children, will be ineligible to contest panchayat elections.

The government has also proposed to take control over the administrative powers of Zilla panchayat in matters like education, healthcare, agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries.

Besides the administrative rejigs, Patel gave nod to open liquor bars to encourage tourism in the island territory which is so far non-alcoholic zone due to its Muslim population.

A ban on beef and an elimination of non-vegetarian food from the menu of Angadwadi children are set to be implemented.