Plea for providing food to Lakshadweep islanders

Petition filed in Kerala HC for transfer of cash as well

A writ petition was filed in the Kerala High Court on Tuesday seeking a directive to the Centre and Lakshadweep Administration to provide food kits to the needy islanders and transfer cash into their account still the lockdown is lifted.

The petition was filed by Nasih K.K. of Amini island. According to him, 80% of the islanders depends on fishing, coconut cultivation, and coir twisting. Most of them were jobless following the imposition of lockdown and curfew. In fact, no COVID case was reported in the islands till January 1, 2021. Therefore, the restrictions were lifted in a phased manner, and visitors who had COVID-19-negative certificates were allowed in the islands.

However cases started reporting from various islands and a curfew was imposed on April 28, 2021. It had later been extended following the reporting of large number of cases and more deaths. In the meantime, the protests had started against the new regulations of the new administrator.

Some of the islanders could not afford to buy food due to lack of money and the non-availability of food following the extension of curfew. They were facing acute starvation. As there were travel restrictions, NGOs could not come and provide succour to the islanders.

The petitioner pointed out that the fundamental rights of the islanders to food and life with dignity guaranteed under Article 21 were violated. The Centre was duty-bound to protect the rights. Besides, the National Food Security Act ensured that necessary food was provided to all the citizens by the Centre and the administration.

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