Lakshadweep Islands are a union territory of India that was added to the Indian union in 1956. Since then, this union territory known for its white-sand beaches and emerald seas has stayed out of the view of national news media. Recently, the announcement of the new laws for the islands has brought a great deal of media attention to the islands for the first time. The island, with a population of 70,000 citizens, has severely protested against the intended new laws. The citizens went on a 12-hour hunger strike on 7 June 2021, and they protested in and outside their homes and even underwater against the controversial new draconian laws proposed for the Lakshadweep Islands.
According to him, the administrator of Lakshadweep, Praful Khoda Patel, recently introduced some new laws for the island, and according to him, these laws would help transform the island into a tourist utopia like the Maldives. The proposed laws included a draft detention law that was placed to curb any form of anti-social activity. According to the proposed law, the administration would have complete power to detain anybody they suspect for over a year.
This particular new law would destroy the unique culture and tradition of the people was claimed by the inhabitants. The law would also grant the administration power to acquire land against the will of the citizens. The protest of the citizens is not only limited to the proposed draft detention law. The law also proposed a ban on the killing, consumption, storage, and transport of bovine animals such as cattle. This law becomes especially stingy given the fact that the population of the island is primarily Muslim, and this law feels like a direct attack on their lifestyle and eating habits.
As if this was not enough already, the law also suggested that people who have more than two children can not contest in the panchayat elections on the island. All these absurd implications enraged the local population, and they have been fiercely protesting against this issue from its get-go. Various political parties, MPs, bureaucrats, and prominent personalities have backed the people of Lakshadweep in this issue and spoken against the intended legislature of Lakshadweep.
The current status of this legislature is that the draft has been submitted to the Union Home Ministry for final approval. The standing MP of Lakshadweep, Mohammad Faizal has informed last week that the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, has assured him that no laws will be implemented on Lakshadweep against the wishes of the island's population.
This issue has garnered national media attention as well as attention from retired bureaucrats. A group of 93 retired bureaucrats have written a letter to the Prime Minister criticising the “partisan attitude” of the new administrator of Lakshadweep and called his actions "disturbing".
The future of Lakshadweep stands at a halt with the people going for mass protest against the draconian legislature and the administrator trying to create their version of a divided utopia in the Lakshadweep islands. No matter any side of the story you are on, it is definitely an important national concern at the moment, and all eyes are at the Central Home Ministry for their actions on the proposed laws.