Forced to Open Up on Lakshadweep, Home Minister Says Locals to be Consulted Before Change

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Home minister Amit Shah

Amit Shah gives assurance to Lakshadweep MP and BJP delegation

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – Lakshadweep’s lone MP and NCP leader Mohammed Faizal as well as BJP Vice President A.P. Abdullakutty who met Home Minister Amit Shah separately on Monday have said that they have been given assurance that the new draft laws for the Union Territory of Lakshadweep will not be finalised without consulting local representatives.

Faizal said that he conveyed to the home minister the growing discontent with the new draft legislation presented by Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Khoda Patel and sought his removal from the island. According to Faizal, Shah told him that the Centre will take a decision on Patel later.

Abdullakutty who led a BJP delegation said that he was assured by the home minister that the proposed changes were just suggestions and that public opinion has been sought on them from the citizens in Lakshadweep. “He (Amit Shah) asked us to tell people there’s nothing to fear and no steps will be taken there without taking the people into confidence. He said there will be discussions with people for their consent,” Abdullahkutty told The Indian Express.

The Union government is facing stiff opposition and widespread criticism ever since the Centre-appointed administrator’s presented the draft legislations. His proposals like a ban on beef, the Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation (LDAR) and disqualification of panchayat poll aspirants with more than two children, are being viewed with suspicion as part of RSS agenda for a territory which is 95 per cent Muslim.

The home minister’s assurances to Faizal and Abdullahkutty came on a day when the Kerala Assembly passed a unanimous resolution demanding recall of the administrator for the controversial decisions that triggered widespread protests in the islands. Kerla shares strong social and cultural links with Lakshadweep.

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