After Lakshadweep filmmaker Aisha Sultana was charged with sedition on Thursday, several leaders and party workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party submitted their resignation on Friday to mark their protest. They called the complaint against the Chetlath resident, “false and unjustified”.
Sultana had participated in a panel discussion on Lakshadweep’s administrative crisis hosted by Media One Malayalam news channel, on June 7. Speaking on the debate show, Aisha said that the Central government had used bio-weapons in Lakshadweep which caused the surge in Covid-19 cases from zero.
While she received flak from a fellow speaker and a BJP representative, she later clarified in a video statement saying, “I am not against the Central government and my remark was only against the administrator. I compared the administrator [Praful Patel] with a bio-weapon because only after he came, the island began reporting Covid-19 cases.”
The Kavaratti police on June 10, registered a sedition case on Aisha based on a complaint filed by BJP’s Lakshadweep unit president, Abdul Khader.
The letter, as reported by NDTV, was undersigned by 12 people and addressed to the party chief C Abdul Khader Haji.
It read, “The BJP in Lakshadweep is fully aware of how the present Administrator Patel’s actions are anti-people, anti-democracy and causing extreme suffering among people.”
Speaking in support of Sultana, the party members said, “You also know that several BJP leaders of Lakshadweep have already spoken on the various wrongdoings of the administrator and the district collector.”
“It’s just in the same manner, that Chetlat resident Aisha Sultana also shared her opinion in the media. Based on your complaint to the police, there has been a case registered against Aisha Sultana who, during a discussion, talked about from not having any Covid cases to rampant cases with the arrival of the present Administrator in Lakshadweep and his unscientific, irresponsible decisions,” the letter added.
The Lakshadweep Pravarthaka Sangham issued a press statement condemning the sedition charge on Aisha. The spokesperson K Bahir said, “It is not right to portray Aisha as an ‘anti-national’. She reacted against Praful Patel’s inhumane approach and it may be noted that Lakshadweep was in the green zone and it was Praful Khoda Patel’s intervention that turned the island into a Covid-19 affected area. We, the cultural community in Lakshadweep, stand in solidarity with Aisha Sultana.”
The island state currently has over 9,000 active covid-19 cases with the first case reported on January 18.
The people of Lakshadweep have condemned Patel’s reforms such as changes in land acquisition policy as mentioned in the Draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation, 2021, implementation of the beef ban, the Goonda Act, removal of non-vegetarian food menu in school canteens and many more. He was also accused of diluting Covid-19 protocols leading to a surge in cases.