Among the most controversial laws proposed by Patel are bans on the consumption of beef under the guise of animal welfare; lifting the four-decade ban on alcohol consumption and allowing liquor stores to open; prohibition to participate in village elections if they have more than two children; and a proposed regulation allowing the administration to acquire land on the islands for “development purposes”, regardless of ownership. Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Karnataka have already passed laws banning a person with more than two children from participating in panchayat elections. “Shouldn`t we have provisions to deal with such crimes? Many cases of illegal smuggling of marijuana, alcohol and POCSO have also been reported here,” he said. “In this context, strict and strict laws are needed so that young people here are not misled.” Most of the new laws still need to be definitively approved by the cabinet. But some decisions have already affected hundreds of people and elected bodies have been stripped of their key powers. Amid criticism of the bills from various sources, Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Khoda Patel also defended the proposals on Thursday, saying they were efforts to develop the area and help its people. “People are afraid of these absurd laws,” says Hassan Bodumukka, senior adviser and chairman of the panchayat on the islands. “We are Muslims and we traditionally eat beef. Banning it is an attack on our religious identity. In addition, a policy is being made to expropriate our lands, and all this is happening under the guise of development.

“We want to preserve dairy cows,” Lakshadweep collector S Asker Ali told The Print. But his words ring hollow, because Lakshadweep is a predominantly Muslim society. Critics said the laws were introduced because of old prejudices against Muslims among people with a past of Bharatiya Janata Pary like Patel. Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel forwarded the controversial bills to the Home Office for approval, which are to be implemented in the territory of the Union. Shashi Tharoor, a senior opposition politician, added: “These laws could be read as legislation for a war-torn region facing significant civil strife, rather than laws for an idyllic archipelago of lush natural beauty and peace-loving fellow Indians.” According to Article 243(b)(2), each state/UT in India should form a panchayat at the village and district level. Section 243 (f) (1) (b) provides that any member of the panchayat may be excluded from election to the panchayat in accordance with an Act of the State Legislature. The Lakshadweep administration drafted the Lakshadweep Panchayat Ordinance of 2021 as a result of the above. This regulation is consistent with existing laws and policies in the country. However, one of the clauses is quite controversial given the demographics of the island. Paragraph 14(1)(n) refers to the disqualification of members of the Gram Panchayat or exclusion from election to the Gram Panchayat if the person has more than two children. A population control measure is not unconstitutional under entry 20A of the competing list of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. There are many precedents for this; 12 states have adopted similar regulations for their respective panchayats.

The Supreme Court also upheld this policy in Javed v. State of Haryana. The court clarified that the policy is based on “understandable differences” and that the aim is to control population growth. The critical point to note here is that the validation of a particular policy rests entirely on whether or not it is good for the public. In this case, considering the fertility rate of the islands, Lakshadweep`s total fertility rate (TFR) is 1.4 (rural) according to NFHS-5, which is well below the national average of 2.2. The TFR is 1.6 (urban), 0.2 less than the NFHS-4 TFR. Therefore, the decline in the birth rate on the islands – as well as the aging of the population – is a sign that this decline in the TFR is contained, rather than contributing to its further deterioration. The government should also consider people`s opinions before adopting this policy, as there are many protests against this project. Finally, the Lakshadweep government should understand the serious impact that the two-child policy could have on the future of the islands. Experts have consistently found that coercive family planning measures have a huge negative impact on the demographics of a particular geographical location.

Despite the retrograde mindset of people who still prefer a boy to a girl, this could lead to hundreds of unsafe abortions that could be fatal to the islanders` already fragile health. Much of the anger seems to be directed at three of the bills – the Anti-Social Activities Prevention Ordinance (ASAP), the Animal Conservation Ordinance and the Panchayat Ordinance. The union`s Ministry of the Interior is currently reviewing all three laws. This is outside the Lakshadweep Development Authority`s draft regulation 2021 – another bill that caused a stir – which allows the administrator to acquire any land needed for public use. “We didn`t take non-vegetables from school lunches and offered fish and eggs,” Ali said, according to The News Minute. “That`s because it`s readily available during the current lockdown period.” He added that many other states have also introduced cow protection laws. Sourav Kumar Jha and Harsh Parakh, Unexplained Nuances of Lakshadweep Draft Regulations, JURIST – Student Commentary, 6 July 2021, “We have seen what is being done to Muslims in India,” said Mohammad Saalim, a student from Lakshadweep. “From Kashmir to Delhi and elsewhere, laws are being enacted by the Modi regime to make Muslims second-class citizens, and the same thing is happening to us now.” The draft Anti-Social Activities Prevention Ordinance, commonly known as the Anti-Goonda Act, is criticised by Lakshadweep`s elected representatives as archaic and draconian, as it gives immense power to the administrator of the island territory. One of the administrator`s arguments is that such laws are necessary for governance. He said that he wanted to develop the island on the model of the Maldives destination and that it was important to prevent anti-social elements of society, and therefore regulation was necessary.

Then, without consultation and despite fierce opposition, he introduced a series of new measures and bills that the people of Lakshadweep, 96% Muslim, saw as an attack on their identity, religion, culture and country, and a devastating threat to their way of life. Patel served as Gujarat`s Home Minister from 2010 to 2012. He was then appointed administrator of Daman and Diu, followed by Dadra and Nagar Haveli, which have now merged into a Union territory that includes the island of Diu off the coast of Gujarat. Patel was accused of passing laws that violated local customs, bringing major developments and increased tourism to the island, demolishing heritage buildings to build roads.

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