Lakshadweep Actor Calls Patel ‘Bioweapon’, Booked for Sedition
Sultana had allegedly said that the Centre was using Administrator Patel as a ‘bioweapon’ against Lakshadweep.
The Lakshadweep Police on Thursday, 10 June, booked film activist Aisha Sultana for allegedly calling the Union territory's administrator Praful K Patel a 'bioweapon'.
Based on a complaint raised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lakshadweep President C Abdul Khader Haji, a case of sedition was filed against Sultana, who is a local resident.
Over the last few weeks, enormous protests have erupted in Lakshadweep over Administrator Patel’s introduction of certain regulations that have been judged as violating the ethos of the indigenous population.
Amid the ongoing protests against the Lakshadweep administrator, the film activist had allegedly suggested that Patel was a "bioweapon" being employed against the island's indigenous residents by the central government.
What Is the Case?
The complaint, registered by Khader Haji at the Kavaratti police station, referred to a recent debate over the contentious reforms introduced in Lakshadweep, that had taken place on the Malayalam television channel MediaOne TV.
During the discussion, which took place 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.”Aisha Sultana Had Said During the Debate
Sultana took to Facebook to explicate her stance: “I had used the word bioweapon in the TV channel debate. I have felt Patel as well as his policies [have acted] as a bioweapon. It was through Patel and his entourage that COVID-19 spread in Lakshadweep. I have compared Patel to a bioweapon, not the government or the country… You should understand. What else should I call him?”
Sultana has played an active role in the protest campaigns that have gained traction in Lakshadweep and Kerala over Patel’s contentious reforms.
Lakshadweep Sahitya Pravarthaka Sangam stated, “It is not proper to depict her as anti-national. She had reacted against the inhumane approach of the administrator," adding that the cultural community will stand by Sultana.
The activist's comment has incited antagonism from the BJP unit of Lakshadweep. The party workers have filed complaints against her in Kerala as well.
BJP Thrissur President lodged a complaint against Sultana on Wednesday, 9 June, with the Kerala Police. KK Aneesh Kumar, the complainant, alleged that during a TV channel discussion on 7 June, the actor had said that the Centre used a bioweapon in Lakshadweep.
'This Is the New India’
Several politicians and activists have taken to Twitter to protest against the filing of the sedition case against Aisha Sultana.
Karti Chidambaram, son of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, RTI activist Saket Gokhale and Congress leader Dr Shama Mohammed are among those who levelled their condemnation.
Why Are People Protesting in Lakshadweep?
Protests have erupted on the islands of Lakshadweep over the past few weeks against Praful Khoda Patel, the administrator of the Union Territory who was appointed a little over five months back on 5 December 2020.
Patel served as the Home Minister of Gujarat under Narendra Modi when the latter was the Chief Minister in 2010.
Among the new laws, the regulation that has outraged the islanders the most is the draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021.
The regulation gives the administrator powers to remove or relocate islanders from their property, for town planning or any developmental activity. The draft notification states that the government has powers “to acquire, hold, manage and dispose of property, movable or immovable, as it may deem necessary”.
Some of the other contentious legislations proposed by Khoda include a ban on beef consumption and the disqualification of individuals having more than two children from Panchayat elections.
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