New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday demanded the immediate removal of the Lakshadweep administrator Praful Patel, alleging that he is not only destroying the peace and culture of the islands, but also “harassing” the people by imposing arbitrary restrictions.
Congress general secretary and senior party spokesperson Ajay Maken said the people of Lakshadweep are opposing the administrator’s action of allowing liquor on the islands.
The administration has also brought in the Prevention of Anti-Social Activity (PASA) Act with the objective of harassing locals, he claimed at an online press conference.
“The Lakshadweep administrator has been directly appointed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, as he belongs to Gujarat and has been the state’s former home minister. He said normally bureaucrats or retired bureaucrats are appointed as administrators (of union territories), but this is the first time a politician has been appointed,” Maken said.
The new administrator has taken away powers of panchayats and has carried out demolitions of houses of locals engaged in fishing activity under new rules, he alleged.
“Praful Patel is a politician and is carrying out the political agenda of the BJP in Lakshadweep, as he hails from Gujarat and is close to Home Minister Amit Shah. He should be removed immediately as he is hurting the sentiments of the people of the islands and threatening peace in areas and its cultural heritage,” Maken said.
He also demanded that the imposition of the PASA Act and the Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation, 2021, by the administrator be rolled back immediately.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also extended her support to the people of Lakshadweep.
“I extend my full support to the people of Lakshadweep. I will always stand by you and fight for your right to protect your heritage. It is a national treasure that we all cherish,” she tweeted.
The people of Lakshadweep deeply understand and honour the rich natural and cultural heritage of the islands they inhabit, Priyanka Gandhi said.
“They 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,” she said on Twitter.
“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 asked.
Another Congress general secretary, K C Venugopal, had on Monday written to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking his intervention in the immediate removal of the administrator.
He alleged that the administrator is imposing a series of measures that have caused immense disturbance and disquiet in the Islands.
In his letter to the President, the Congress leader said the local people are up in arms against the “unilateral measures” imposed by Administrator Praful Patel in Lakshadweep, as locals fear these “unilateral and anti-people decisions” would ultimately lead to the destruction of traditional livelihood and unique culture of Lakshadweep.