In a desperate attempt to stop the Administration from introducing reforms to the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, Islamists have opened their propaganda warfare against the administrator Praful Patel and the Union government. Islamists have accused Patel of undermining the ‘Islamic character’ of Lakshadweep where Muslims constitute 96% of the total population.
There are multiple reports that suggest the growing consumption of drugs and alcohol among the youth of Lakshadweep. After taking responsibility as the administrator of Lashwadweep in December 2020, Praful Patel had conducted 18 raids across the UT to fight the drug menace. Goonda Act was imposed in the UT keeping in mind the motto to completely shut the smuggling and distribution of alcohol and drugs. Anti-CAA/NRC posters placed by radical Islamist outfits were brought down throughout the Islands.
Patel had been trying to prioritise the UT’s development and improve the tourism opportunities of the Island. He has also taken initiatives to improve the security of Lakshadweep due to its strategic importance.
The Islamists, using social media, have started to propagate false information about the decisions taken by the administrator and its impact on the Island. They have alleged that the administration’s decision to relax quarantine norms resulted in the surge of COVID-19 cases in Lakshadweep. Refuting the allegation, Collector Asker Ali in an interview to the print had told that it was wrong to blame the surge in cases entirely on the relaxation in quarantine measures. He had also added that ‘the surge was due to two main reasons — the increased movement of people with economic activity resuming and the “very high” transmission rate of the new strain.’
Islamists are also crying foul about the administration imposing the goonda act on the Island. They also claim that there are the Lakshadweep islands are crime-free as no serious cases are being reported. These are multiple newspaper reports which suggest that the crimes in Lakshadweep are not reported to the police stations due to various reasons.
There have also been reports of illegal berthing of foreign vessels near Lakshadweep. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) had raised concerns about the poor handling of foreign vessels by the police agencies. Also in 2019, there were intelligence reports regarding the movement of 15 ISIS terrorists from Sri Lanka to the Lakshadweep Islands.
Recently, Rs 3000 crore worth of drugs were seized by Coast Guard off Minicoy Island. 300 kgs Heroin and 5 AK-47 rifles with 1,000 live rounds were recovered from Sri Lankan fishing boat Ravihansi.
To optimise the tourism in Lakshadweep, the administrator had decided to relax the rules of a total prohibition on the Island. This has also irked the Islamists. The Maldives has emerged as one of the favourite tourism destinations for many Indians over time. Due to its poor infrastructure, Lakshadweep could never be the most sought out tourist destination in the region.
Many of the Islamist organisations have decided support to ‘protests’ against the Lakshadweep administration. CPIM leader and Rajya Sabha MP Elamanam Kareem have written a letter to the Indian President Ram Nath Kovid to recall the Lakshadweep administrator Praful Patel. Congress leader V.P Balram has also announced solidarity with these ‘protests’.