On Thursday, the Lakshadweep police filed a sedition charge against local resident, activist, and filmmaker Aisha Sultana for referring to the Union Territory’s administrator, Praful K Patel, as a “bioweapon.” The case was filed in response to a complaint filed by BJP Lakshadweep president C Abdul Khader Haji, who claimed that Sultana criticized the Centre and Patel during a debate about the ongoing political crisis in Lakshadweep on a Malayalam news channel.
Justifying her statement in a recent Facebook post, Sultana wrote, “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…”
Sultana has been at the forefront of the recent campaign against recently proposed legislation and contentious reform measures, which have sparked widespread outrage among locals.
So, who is Aisha Sultana?
Aisha Sultana is an actor, model, and director from Lakshadweep’s Chetlat island. Aisha previously worked as an associate director on the Malayalam film ‘Kettyolaanu Ente Malaakha.’ In 2020, she made her directorial debut with the independent Malayalam film ‘Flush.’
Haji claimed in his complaint against Sultana that the filmmaker referred to Patel as a “bio-weapon” wielded by the Central government during a news debate on the Malayalam channel, “MediaOne TV.” Protests were launched by the BJP’s Lakshadweep unit in response to the remarks. BJP workers had also filed complaints against Aisha in Kerala.
Expressing solidarity with Sultana, the Lakshadweep Sahitya Pravarthaka Sangam condemned the sedition charges against her. “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 cult
Several other politicians and activists have since taken to social media to express their opposition to Sultana’s sedition charge.
On Thursday, a case was filed at the Kavaratti police station under Sections 124 A (sedition) and 153 B (hate speech).