Filmmaker and activist Aisha Sultana on Monday approached the Kerala High Court seeking anticipatory bail in the sedition case filed against her by the Lakshadweep Police, news agency ANI reported.
BJP’s Lakshadweep unit president C Abdul Khader Haji had filed a complaint against Sultana for calling the Union Territory’s administrator, Praful K Patel, a ‘bio-weapon’ being used by the Centre on the island’s people. The case was registered at Kavaratti police station on June 10, under Sections 124 A (sedition) and 153 B (hate speech) of the IPC.
According to Khader’s complaint, Sultana had purportedly made the remark on a recent debate on Malayalam channel ‘MediaOne TV’ over the ongoing controversial reforms in Lakshadweep. This sparked protests from the BJP’s Lakshadweep unit. BJP workers in Kerala had moved complaints against the filmmaker as well.
In a recent Facebook post, Sultana stated, “I had used the word bio-weapon in the TV channel debate. I have felt Patel as well as his policies [have acted] as a bio-weapon. It was through Patel and his entourage that Covid-19 spread in Lakshadweep. I have compared Patel as a bioweapon, not the government or the country…. You should understand. What else should I call him…”
A native of Lakshadweep’s Chetlat island, Sultana has been in the forefront of the campaign against the recently proposed legislation and controversial reform measures that have triggered widespread anger amongst locals.
However, several politicians and activists have spoken against filing a sedition case against the activist.
According to sources, at least a dozen BJP party leaders and scores of party workers have resigned as protest over the sedition case, calling Haji’s allegations against Sultana “untruthful” and aimed at destroying her and her family’s future. Among these are BJP state secretary Abdul Hamid Mullipura, general secretary M P Sayed Mohammaed Koya, member of the Wakf Board Ummul Kulooos Puthiyapura, member of the Khadi board Saifullah Pakkiyoda and secretary of the Chetlat unit Jabir Salihath Manzil.
Lakshadweep Sahitya Pravarthaka Sangam also extended its support to Sultana. “It is not proper to depict her as anti-national. She had reacted against the inhumane approach of the administrator. It was Patel’s interventions that made Lakshadweep a Covid-affected area. The cultural community in Lakshadweep would stand with her,’’ the organisation’s spokesperson, K Bahir, said.