The Lakshadweep administration on Tuesday informed the Kerala High Court that filmmaker-activist Aisha Sultana, who is accused in a sedition case, deleted her mobile chats after the registration of the case by the Kavaratti Police.
Accusing her of not cooperating in the probe, the administration opposed Aisha's plea to quash the case. They pointed out that it was suspicious that she deleted messages after the registration of the case.
The Lakshadweep Police on 10 June, booked filmmaker-activist Aisha Sultana for allegedly calling the Union territory's administrator Praful K Patel a 'bioweapon'. In a debate over the contentious reforms introduced in Lakshadweep, that had taken place on the Malayalam television channel MediaOne TV on 7 June, Sultana had allegedly said that the Centre was using Administrator Patel as a “bioweapon” against Lakshadweep.
“Before Centre took care, Lakshadweep had 0 cases of COVID-19. Now, it is reporting a daily spike of 100 cases. What the Centre has deployed is a bioweapon. I can say this clearly that the central government has deployed a bioweapon against the people of Lakshadweep,” she had said.
Sultana's Actions Seen as Suspicious
The investigating officers had noted that Sultana seemed to have received messages from people during the panel discussion, where she made the controversial remarks. The administration claimed that these mobile chats have been suspiciously deleted by Sultana. Media One channel has also been accused of not cooperating.
Senior Central Government Standing Counsel S Manu alleged, “She has not been properly cooperating with the investigation and refused to provide documents demanded by the police. On the other hand, she raised several baseless allegations against police after filing of the above Crl MC and indulged in a malicious campaign against the police through media. Apparently, her aim is to dissuade the police from conducting a proper investigation by unleashing false propaganda.”
The administration stated that there has been good progress in the investigation process.
"The statement made by her has a tendency to create disorder or disturbance of public peace by resorting to violence. It also prima facie amounts to an assertion prejudicial to national integration. Hence the crime has been registered for the offences under Sections 124 A and 153B," the administration said in the court submission.
The Kavaratti Police had registered FIRs against Sultana under Section 124A (sedition) and Section 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration) of the IPC.
Judge Ashok Menon on July 17, granted Sultana interim protection from arrest while directing her to cooperate with the investigating officers. However, the Lakshadweep administration later filed an application with the court, alleging that while Sultana was on the islands, she broke COVID protocols multiple times.
Sultana hails from Chetiath Island in Lakshadweep and is a model, director, script writer and actor. She is the first woman filmmaker from Lakshadweep. She made her independent directorial debut in 2020 with her Malayalam film 'Flush', for which she also wrote the script.