Sedition case against filmmaker Aisha Sultana for calling Lakshadweep administrator Praful Patel 'bio-weapon'
Kavaratti/IBNS: A sedition case has been filed against filmmaker-activist Aisha Sultana who called Lakshadweep's controversial administrator Praful Khoda Patel a "bio-weapon" used by the Narendra Modi government on the people of the union territory, media reports said.
The case was registered at Kavaratti Police Station on the basis of the complaint filed by Lakshadweep Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president C Abdul Khader Haji.
In a recent debate on Malayalam channel MediaOne TV, Aisha had purportedly said the Centre was using Patel as a "bio-weapon", in reference to the administrator's slew of reforms that have drawn widespread criticisms.
Justifying her comment, Aisha, who was at the forefront in the protest against the new reforms, said on social networking site Facebook, "Some people are portraying me as a traitor because I used the word 'bio-weapon' in yesterday's channel discussion... Everyone who watched that discussion knows that I used that word only for Praful Patel... I felt Praful Patel and his policies were totally a weapon."
"I called him a 'bio-weapon' because COVID-19 was spread in Lakshadweep through Praful Patel and his entourage," she said and added, "I have compared Praful Patel to a bio-weapon, not the government or the country."
Supporting Aisha, Lakshadweep Sahitya Pravarthaka Sangam spokesperson K Bahir said on Thursday as quoted by The Indian Express, "It is not proper to depict her as anti-national. She had reacted against the inhumane approach of the administrator.
"It was Patel’s interventions that made Lakshadweep a Covid-affected area. The cultural community in Lakshadweep would stand with her."
What are the controversial reforms?
Patel, who was appointed by the BJP government at the Centre in Dec 2020, introduced the proposal of the implementation of the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act, or the Goonda Act in the union territory, which already has a lower crime rate.
As per media reports, locals fear that such an Act will enable the administration to arrest anyone without a trial.
The administrator has sought to bring changes in the panchayat regulations in Lakshadweep, which has no assembly or lawmakers directly elected by common people.
As per the new proposed reforms, any person, who has more than two children, will be ineligible to contest panchayat elections.
The government has also proposed to take control over the administrative powers of Zilla panchayat in matters like education, healthcare, agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries.
Besides the administrative rejigs, Patel gave nod to open liquor bars to encourage tourism in the island territory which is so far non-alcoholic zone due to its Muslim population.
A ban on beef and an elimination of non-vegetarian food from the menu of Angadwadi children are set to be implemented.