Union declares Friday no longer a holiday in Lakshadweep, residents protest

Lakshadweep's Kalpeni Island
People's representatives in Lakshadweep have opposed the decision to change the traditional weekly holiday on Fridays. File photo.

Kavaratti: The Muslim-majority islands of Lakshadweep have protested the Union Government's decision to change weekly school holidays from Fridays to Sundays.

The Lakshadweep Education Department has issued a new calendar declaring Fridays as working days, ending a traditional system based on religious grounds that was followed in the islands.

Lakshadweep's Member of Parliament, PP Mohammed Faizal said the decision was unacceptable to the general public. He claimed that Fridays have been given as holidays in the islands since schools were opened there six decades ago.

Faizal has accused that the decision was taken without discussing with district panchayat or the elected representatives. "Such a decision is not within the people's mandate,” Faizal said. “It is a unilateral decision of the administration,” he reportedly told PTI.

Official sources said the administration modified the school timings and regular school activities to ensure "optimum utilization of resources, proper engagement of learners and necessary planning of teaching learning process".

P P Abbas, vice president and counsellor of the Lakshadweep District Panchayat, wrote a letter to the advisor to Administrator Praful Khoda Patel, requesting him to reconsider the order of the Education Department to address the sentiments of the students and parents.

In his letter, he said that the ethnic population of Lakshadweep are Muslims and to their faith, Friday is a holiday and offering Juma Namaz on Fridays is considered a religious practice. He requested the administration to convene a meeting of elected representatives and other stakeholders to discuss the issue.
(With agency inputs)

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