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93 former civil servants write to PM, complain about Lakshadweep Administrator's actions

Former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, former Adviser to Prime Minister T K A Nair, former Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah are among the 93 signatories.

Former civil servants write to PM, complain about Lakshadweep Administrator actions-VPN
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New Delhi, First Published Jun 6, 2021, 10:15 AM IST
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A group of 93 former civil servants have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, highlighting their concerns over what they claimed were disturbing developments in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.

Former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, former Adviser to Prime Minister T K A Nair, former Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah are among the 93 signatories.

In their letter, copies of which were shared with Home Minister Amit Shah and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, the group said that the draft legislations brought by Administrator Praful Khoda Patel had been introduced without discussion with local representatives.

The legislation that the group mention about Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation (LDAR), Amendment to the Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulations, the Lakshadweep Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation (or Goonda Act), and the Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation (LAPR). 

While noting that there has been no development in Lakshadweep for the past 70 years, the former civil servants said that the LDAR is based on the 'Maldives model' of land and tourism development that does not consider the differences between the two island groups in size, population, number of islands and their spread.

The group said that the Administrator's regulations target food habits and religious injunctions of the local islanders, 96.5% of whom are Muslims.

They said that if the proposed LAPR was made into law, it will ban the killing of bovine animals and prohibit the storage, transport or sale and consumption of cattle meat on the island where there are inherent limits to livestock development.

The letter noted that a ban on alcohol in keeping with the religious sensitivities of the overwhelmingly Muslim population had been lifted. 

The group claimed that the beef ban and lifting of the prohibition on alcohol would give an avoidable communal colour in a sensitive maritime region and that the resulting communal disharmony could harm national security.

The former civil servants told the Prime Minister that the actions of the Administrator, without due consultation with the islanders, constitute an onslaught on the very fabric of Lakshadweep society, economy and landscape as if the islands were just a piece of real estate for tourists and tourism investors from the outside world.

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