Lakshadweep health director, who opposed staff termination plan, transferred

Kochi: The Lakshadweep Administration on Saturday triggered yet another controversy by transferring the Director of Health Services (DHS) there within five months of her taking charge.

Political vendetta has been suspected in the transfer of Dr M K Soudhabi, since her husband Jaffer Shah, founding General Secretary of BJP’s Lakshadweep unit, has been a vocal critic of the Administration.

Dr Soudhabi was transferred to Andrott as the medical officer in-charge of the Community Health Centre (CHC), while the current CHC chief, Dr P M Basheer, will replace her as DHS.

Dr Soudbhai, too, had invited the Administration’s displeasure, as she opposed a move to terminate the services of doctors and nurses appointed on one-year contract under the National Health Mission.

The now-transferred DHO was also against Administrator Praful Khoda Patel’s move to implement the recommendations of the Medical Director in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu in Lakshadweep. Patel is also the Administrator of Daman and Diu.

Health Department officials felt Dr Saudhabi’s opposition to several of Patel’s reforms, too, invited his wrath. She had been transferred three times in the past 11 months. Her latest transfer was ordered the same day on which Patel left Lakshadweep after a short visit.

The Administration, meanwhile, cited inadequate anti-COVID-19 measures as the reason for Dr Saudhabi’s transfer. However, it has been alleged that the transfer was the fallout of her husband Shah severely criticizing Patel’s functioning at a party meeting held recently.

Audio clips of the meeting, attended by A P Abdullakutty, ‘Prabhari’ of BJP’s Lakshadweep unit, have been widely circulated. Shah was purportedly heard in an audio clip, saying the people of Lakshadweep were more important to him than the Administrator.

He also said BJP should have opposed the Administrators’ anti-people moves. Opposing the sedition case against activist-filmmaker Aisha Sultana, Shah accused senior BJP leaders of trying to destroy the party.

The case against Sultana was registered based on a complaint by BJP’s Lakshadweep state president C Abdul Khadar Haji. The case was lodged after Sultana referred to Patel as a “bio-weapon” in a television debate.

The filmmaker, armed with an anticipatory bail order from the High Court of Kerala, would appear before the Kavaratti Police for interrogation on Sunday.  

Protests continue, residents remove flags

Kochi: The protests against the move to acquire private property continued in Lakshadweep even after the return of the Administrator, Praful Khoda Patel, on Saturday.

A protest march taken out by the Kavaratti Village Panchayat administration removed red flags the administration had set up to demarcate land that are to be acquired for various development activities.

People switched off lights on Friday night and banged utensils, as urged by the Save Lakshadweep Forum.

During the Friday night protest, engine oil was splashed on two BJP offices, including the State office, and flex boards erected in front of them.  

BJP president C Abdul Khadar Haji dismissed the incident as an emotional outburst and did not lodge a police complaint.

Praful Patel cuts short visit, returns

Kochi: Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Khoda Patel cut short his week-long visit to the Dweep and returned to Daman and Diu on Saturday morning.

Patel who left Kavaratti for Agatti at 8.15am, took off to Daman and Diu via Goa on a special flight at 9.45am. It is rumoured that he cut short the visit after he was summoned to Delhi by the BJP national leadership. 

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