By LE Staff
Kochi, June 14, 2021: Filmmaker Aisha Sultana approached the Kerala High Court on Monday seeking anticipatory bail in a sedition case registered against her by the Kavaratti police for her remarks against the Lakshadweep Administrator.
BJP’s Lakshadweep unit president C Abdul Khader Haji had filed a complaint against Sultana for calling the Union Territory’s administrator, Praful K Patel, a “bio-weapon” being used by the Centre on the island’s people. The case was registered at Kavaratti police station on June 10, under Sections 124 A (sedition) and 153 B (hate speech) of the IPC.
Sultana made the remarks during a discussion on a Malayalam TV news channel on June 7 on the controversial proposals of the Lakshadsweep Administrator which have triggered public protests on the islands. She has been asked to appear before the Kavaratti police on June 20.
In her petition filed through High Court lawyer P. Vijaya Bhanu, Sultana said she had been falsely implicated in the case ‘with ulterior motives and vexatious intentions.’ She pointed out that the actions of the Administrator had drawn flak from the islanders and people across the globe. It was in this context that she made the remarks, The Hindu reported.
She said she had only intended to say that the apathetic approach and reforms of the new Administrator were posing a serious threat to the islanders and had no intention to excite disaffection towards the administration. She also said she had explained her stance on social media and apologised for her statements.
She also argued that the case did not qualify to be one of sedition as the prosecution had failed to satisfy the necessity to constitute an offence under section 124A of IPC, reported The Hindu. For an offence falling under the section, the words spoken or written should create hatred, contempt, or displeasure against a government, and such words should have resulted in imminent violence. Her statement had not sparked violence or created disaffection towards the government.
Besides, section 153B would not stand as the words spoken were not prejudicial to national integration or causing disharmony or feeling of enmity or hatred or ill-will. Criticism on political matters and candid discussion did not constitute an offence of sedition. Her statements could at best be termed as “expression of disapprobation of the sections of the government and functionaries.” She did not intend to incite people or disturb public peace.
In a recent Facebook post, Sultana stated, “I had used the word bio-weapon in the TV channel debate. I have felt Patel as well as his policies [have acted] as a bio-weapon. It was through Patel and his entourage that Covid-19 spread in Lakshadweep. I have compared Patel as a bioweapon, not the government or the country…. You should understand. What else should I call him…”