The Legislative Assembly in Kerala has moved a resolution expressing solidarity with the people of Lakshadweep and asking for the controversial Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Patel to be called back. The resolution, presented by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has been passed unanimously. Addressing the Assembly, Chief Minister Pinarayi asked for the Union government to intervene in the Lakshadweep issue. “It is the Union government’s responsibility to ensure that people's interest should be protected,” Pinarayi said. “The Administrator, who is challenging the interests of the people, must be removed and the Centre must take immediate action to protect the lives and the livelihood of people of Lakshadweep,” Pinarayi said.
Pinarayi also said that there was an attempt to destroy the indigenous lifestyle and ecosystem in the archipelago and implement the 'saffron agenda' through the backdoor.
"What is happening in Lakshadweep today is an experiment of the Sangh Parivar agenda," he said. Coconut trees there were painted with saffron colour as part of the agenda, the Chief Minister said, while moving the resolution. "The attempt is to impose and implement the saffron agenda and corporate interests in Lakshadweep," Pinarayi Vijayan said.
Earlier, there was a move to arrest the people who wrote banners against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Chief Minister said. "The people of Lakshadweep live peacefully and treat their guests with a lot of love. In such a place where a crime rarely happens, they (Administrator) are bringing the Goonda Act. It is to face such protests (as the one against CAA) that such moves are made. An authoritarian rule has been growing in this manner," he said.
The Chief Minister also spoke about the Administration's "attempt" to destroy the local fishing industry which is the main source of income for people there. He also spoke about the proposed beef ban. "In such ways, the reforms by the Administrator will kill the lives and culture of the people there bit by bit," CM Pinarayi said.
Pinarayi spoke about the district and village panchayats of Lakshadweep being brought under the Administrator and reducing their power. The reform to disallow those who have more than two children from contesting in panchayat elections was also criticised by the Kerala CM. He also touched upon the issue of allowing people outside the islands to buy land there.
There is also a move to destroy the deep bonds between Kerala and Lakshadweep, the CM pointed out.
Opposition leader VD Satheesan said that the opposition agrees in principle with the resolution moved by the Chief Minister. "A cultural invasion is happening in Lakshadweep by the Union government through the Administrator, forcing anti-democratic ways and destroying human rights of the innocent people of Lakshadweep," he said.
Other UDF leaders such as PT Thomas, N Samsudheen and Anoop Jacob and Communist Party of India (CPI) leader E Chandrasekharan also spoke in support of the resolution, suggesting a few amendments.
This is the first ever resolution moved in the House after the second Vijayan government came to power achieving a resounding victory in the April 6 Assembly polls.
Earlier, CPI(M) Members of Parliament from the state, including Elamaram Kareem, AM Ariff and V Sivadasan, hit out against the administration of the Union Territory for denying them permission to visit the islands.They alleged that their permission to visit Lakshadweep was rejected by the administration, citing the COVID-19 situation. There has been a simmering discontent building among the residents of Lakshadweep for the past six months, since the appointment of Praful Khoda Patel as the Administrator. Residents on the islands and many from Kerala, including politicians and actors, have been strongly protesting the new administrative reforms brought in by Patel since December 2020, which, they say will destroy the traditional life and cultural diversity of Lakshadweep residents. Many, including the Kerala government and legislative members, have also called for the removal of Praful Khoda Patel from the post.