Local citizen and film activist Aisha Sultana was charged with sedition by Lakshadweep police on Thursday to refer to the Union Territory’s administrator, Praful K Patel, as a bio-weapon being deployed the Centre against the island’s inhabitants.
The case was filed at Kavaratti police station when C Abdul Khader Haji, the BJP’s Lakshadweep unit president, filed a complaint under Section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code (sedition charge). Khader’s complaint referenced a recent debate on Malayalam channel “MediaOne TV” about the ongoing controversial reforms in Lakshadweep, in which Aisha allegedly claimed that the Centre was using Praful Patel as a “bio-weapon” on the islands, according to Khader. The BJP’s Lakshadweep unit was outraged by the comments. BJP activists had also filed complaints against Aisha in Kerala.
Aisha, a filmmaker, has been at the forefront of opposition to the reforms and proposed legislation that has swept Lakshadweep and Kerala. “I had used the terminology bio-weapon in the TV channel debate,” Aisha wrote on Facebook, defending her contentious comment to the administrator.
On Thursday, the Lakshadweep Sahitya Pravarthaka Sangam expressed its support for Aisha. “It is inappropriate to portray her as anti-national. She had reacted angrily to the administrator’s harsh treatment. Patel’s initiatives were responsible for Lakshadweep becoming a Covid-affected region. K Bahir, the organization’s spokesperson, said, “The cultural community in Lakshadweep would stand with her.”