We cannot survive here: Lakshadweep locals on administrator Praful Patel’s executive siege
On 5 December 2020, Praful Khoda Patel, a senior politician of the Bharatiya Janata Party, took charge as the administrator of the union territory of Lakshadweep…. On 22 December, the Lakshadweep administration did away with the mandatory quarantine rules for those arriving from outside…. Just over three weeks later, Lakshadweep reported its first case of the novel coronavirus and as of 10 June 2021, the UT had recorded 8,874 cases and 42 deaths in a population of just over 66,000….
In January, Patel introduced the draft Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation – commonly called the Goonda Act – which residents and local politicians told me was an attempt to stifle dissent in the UT. The administration has already started cracking down on protests against Patel’s decisions.
In addition, Patel drafted the Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation in April, which allows the administration to seize land for a wide range of uses with minimum protection for the landowners, among other contentious provisions…. Mannel told me he feared for the future of democracy on the islands. “…. They are trying to saffronise such a place.”… There is a curfew here. No one can go out. They can fine us or file a case against us. That is a way of culling this movement.”