Kerala Assembly to pass joint resolution supporting Lakshadweep people soon

The Kerala Assembly is likely to pass a joint resolution expressing solidarity with the people of Lakshadweep where the recent actions of the islands' administrator have drawn flak.

MB Rajesh, the newly elected Speaker of the State Assembly, on Thursday said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan himself has proposed the resolution in the wake of recent developments in the archipelago.

"The government will move the resolution in the ongoing session. I hope the opposition also will not have any objection and they will support it as many of its members have already raised such a demand. So, there is unanimity on the matter," Rajesh said.

However, the date of the presentation of the resolution is yet to be decided, the Speaker added.

Soon after assuming the new office on Tuesday, Rajesh, also a two-time Parliamentarian, had said the present developments in the archipelago raise concerns.

Earlier, Congress legislator Shafi Parambil had sent a letter to the Speaker and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urging them to move a joint resolution in the House expressing the state's solidarity with the islanders.

"What is happening in Lakshadweep is a cultural invasion to implement the Sangh Parivar agenda of the Central government," the Palakkad legislator alleged in the letter.

The administrator was just an instrument to implement the fascist agenda, he further alleged.

"The Kerala Assembly has been an exemplary platform for anti-fascist struggles," he said, adding that as in the past, a united voice against what was happening in Lakshadweep should be heard from the House on this issue also.

Leaders of ruling CPM and opposition Congress in Kerala have hit out against what they termed as "anti-people" measures initiated by Praful Khoda Patel, the Lakshadweep administrator.

Opposition Leader VD Satheeshan urged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to call back the administrator, who is bringing in the draconian reforms.

“The new administrator has interfered in the powers of the district panchayat and invoked Goonda Act to suppress people’s voices. His mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis has created a health crisis on the island. Such actions provoking the people of the island and their religious sentiments will cause tremendous damage to peace and tranquillity in the island,” he wrote to Amit Shah.

However, the BJP's state unit has rejected the charges.

Lakshadweep residents have been protesting against a proposed cow slaughter ban, a preventive detention law and a draft law proposing sweeping changes in land development regulations, which were introduced by the union territory’s administrator Praful Khoda Patel, who has close links with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.

Patel was the Home Minister in Narendra Modi’s Gujarat cabinet.

The first session of the 15th state assembly began with the swearing-in of newly elected MLAs on May 24.

A misinformation campaign is going on: Lakshadweep Collector

With Kerala's opposition parties up in arms over the various media reports about the manner in which Lakshadweep is being run by new administrator Praful Patel, the collector of the island, S. Asker Ali said all that is happening now is because of a misinformation campaign.

Ali arrived here at a time when the ruling CPI-M led Left and the Opposition Congress-led UDF have slammed the way Patel is going about things on the island.

Speaking to the media, Ali said the changes that are happening on the island are for its wholesome development.

"Some vested interests are behind the smear campaign that's presently going on with misleading propaganda," said Ali.

"The Maldives lies next to the island and there the biggest activity is tourism, while despite the island also having the same facilities, tourism has not picked up. We are now developing three new tourist spots. Likewise, there is a problem of internet connectivity and to resolve that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sanctioned an underwater cable and once done, it will change the issue of connectivity," said Ali.

He said the sanctioning of liquor outlets is only for the tourism industry. The airport will be developed for big aircraft to land as now only small ATR aircraft can land on the island.

"Only the tourists and those having a permit for liquor will be able to buy liquor and no one else will be able to buy," said Ali.

He pointed out that of late there have been huge seizures of drugs and arms and ammunition from some parts of the island.

"There have been reports of drug abuse on the island and the new Anti-Social Act will be used only against those who violate the laws," said Ali.

He said that steps are being taken for value addition to coconut and fish as these are the two mainstays of the island.

"In a year the coconut production stands at 10 crore coconuts and 25,000 tones of fish, of which more than 90 per cent is tuna fish. We are now getting ready for value addition in both these products, which will bring increased revenue for the stakeholders. Already ice plants have been set up on the island and more will be set up soon. The Coconut Development Board is also now associating for value addition," added Ali.

Ali's response has come at a time when the Kerala Assembly is all set to come out with a unanimous resolution against Patel. Already both the ruling Left and the Congress-led UDF have asked for the immediate withdrawal of Patel from the post he holds.

(With inputs from PTI)

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