Filmmaker Aisha Sultana moves HC seeking anticipatory bail in sedition case for remark against Lakshadweep administrator
Filmmaker Aisha Sultana on Monday approached the Kerala high court seeking anticipatory bail in sedition case against her. Sultana was booked by the Lakshadweep Police on June 10 after a complaint from Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Lakshadweep unit president C Abdul Khader Haji over her remarks in a television debate.
Aisha Sultana, appearing on a Malayalam TV channel, allegedly called the Union territory’s administrator, Praful Khoda Patel, a “bio-weapon” launched by the Centre. The remarks were made amid anger in the region over new rules introduced by Patel, which his opponents say threaten the livelihoods of islanders.
The FIR filed on June 10 Haji's complaint said the accused generated hatred and opposition to the Union government by falsely and with ulterior motives. The case was registered by Kavaratti Police under Sections 121 A (sedition) and 153 (B) (assertions against national integration) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and she was asked to appear before the police on June 20. Sultana is currently settled in Kochi.
The filmmaker said she used the word but did not attack the country or the Union government. “I was referring to some of the decisions of Patel which infuriated local people. Despite popular sentiment, he continues to antagonise people. As a local resident I have right to criticise him,” she said in a Facebook post.
Many local BJP leaders protested against the slapping of sedition charge against Sultana. Over a dozen of them quit the party in protest.
However, the BJP downplayed the resignations, claiming that the party is intact in the island.
Over the last few days, there has been an uproar against Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel over the new reforms introduced by him, which many allege are against the interest of the islanders.
People are protesting against the draft legislations like Lakshadweep Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation (Goonda Act), Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation and Lakshadweep Panchayat Regulation, 2021 among others.
Patel, who was appointed as the administrator of Lakshadweep in December 2020, is facing opposition over policies introduced by him from the people of the union territory and politicians, both from within Lakshadweep and the neighbouring state of Kerala.