Sultana flouted Covid norms, Lakshadweep admin tells Kerala HC
The Lakshadweep administration on Thursday informed the Kerala high court, through a special petition, that activist and filmmaker Aisha Sultana, who was summoned by the island police for her bio-weapon remarks, flouted the interim protection granted to her by the court.
Last Sunday, the high court granted interim bail to Sultana and she appeared before Kavaratti police. The administration informed the court that the filmmaker was advised to stay in home quarantine except when called for interrogation. It said Sultana met people and talked to the media during her stay, flouting Covid-19 norms. She also visited the panchayat office and attended some functions, it said.
“The violation of quarantine norms after giving assurance to the nodal officer shows that she has no respect for the law of the land and legal obligations,” said the administration’s petition, adding that Sultana had abused the protection granted to her by the high court. It requested the court to consider this while hearing her anticipatory bail application.
Two days ago, Lakshadweep collector Askar Ali had also warned Sultana for allegedly flouting Covid protocol. But she said she was only accompanied by her lawyer while appearing for questioning, as permitted by the court.
On June 11, the Kavaratti police registered a case against her under sections 124 (A) (sedition) and 153 (B) (acts against national interests) of the Indian Penal Code. The FIR was based on the complaint of Lakshadweep BJP president C Abdul Khadar Haji that in a debate on a Malayalam news channel, Sultana called the Union Territory administrator, Praful Khoda Patel, as a bio-weapon. While Haji said her words were in a bad taste, Sulatana expressed regret over her words.
Both Lakshadweep administration and the Union government opposed her bail plea, her words were used by many foreign journals to show the country in a poor light.
Residents of the archipelago have been protesting against the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation (2021) that includes developing the islands as a major tourist destination, saying that the changes “will affect unique culture and tradition” of the island. They allege it will destroy the islands’ character and identity since 97% of the islands are covered by pristine forests and 95% of its Muslim population belongs to the protected scheduled tribe category.
Many parliamentarians, former bureaucrats, artists and cine actors have described the draft regulations as “arbitrary” and aimed against the majority community of the islands. Earlier this week, the high court stayed two regulations -- closing down of dairy units and removal of meat from the midday meal scheme.