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Lakshadweep bans entry of outsiders; two men who entered met with stiff resistance from locals

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As a precaution in the wake of COVID-19, the Lakshadweep administration has banned entry of outsiders to its territory. Despite this, two men from the mainland tried to enter the 36-island archipelago on Saturday inviting strong reaction from the residents.

Two people, who are reportedly from Maharashtra, flew to Agatti airport on Saturday where they were met with stiff resistance by the locals, who tried to turn them away, the local sources said.

The sources said the two men were allowed to enter the island without entry permits as the administration had already announced that they will stop issuing permits as a measure to prevent the spread of the contagion. Entry permit is compulsory for outsiders to enter the Union Territory, which has so far been unaffected by the pandemic.

The sources added that when the locals protested, the Deputy Collector and other officials intervened and transported them to an isolated facility.

However, on Sunday, when the country was observing Janata Curfew, the duo were secretly taken to Bangaram Island by the Tourism Department officials.

“When the boat approached the island carrying the outsiders, the locals were incensed. They did not let the boat near and it was diverted to Thinnakara island nearby,” said the sources.

There also the locals protested following which the boat turned away and anchored mid-sea. Sources added that despite orders from the Deputy Collector to return, the Tourism Department officials were not willing to relent. Till the filing of the copy, the boat was still in the sea.

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