KOCHI: Lakshadweep-based filmmaker Aisha Sultana, who has been booked by the Kavaratti police on sedition charges, approached the Kerala High Court seeking anticipatory bail in the case. The police registered a case against Sultana for her controversial statement that the Centre was using COVID as a 'bio-weapon' against the people of Lakshadweep.
Sultana filed the bail plea through P Vijayabhanu, Senior Advocate of the Kerala High Court. The petition stated that she never had any intention to excite disaffection or hatred towards the central government.
A case under Sections 124 A (sedition) and 153 B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration) was registered against Sultana, a native of Chetlat island, based on a petition filed by BJP’s Lakshadweep unit president Abdul Khader. The prosecution alleged that on June 7, in a TV channel discussion, she stated that the Centre had used a 'bio-weapon' against the natives of the islands.
The petition stated that the Sub Inspector of Police, Kavaratti police station, has now issued a notice under section 41 A CrPC directing her to appear at the police headquarters at Kavaratti on June 20 for interrogation. She apprehends imminent arrest and detention. Hence, she filed the anticipatory bail plea. According to her, she is absolutely innocent of the allegations levelled against her. She has been falsely implicated in the case with ulterior motives and vexatious intentions.
According to her, the protest is primarily against the revised and relaxed SOP in the COVID-19 quarantine protocol. There were no COVID cases till January 2021. Following the modification in the SOP by the Lakshadweep administration, COVID cases increased. Lakshadweep is now seeing an exponential rise in COVID-19 patients, the primitive healthcare system and geography of the area is adding to the number of deaths in the place.
In that context, Sultana was invited for the discussion, and it was while explaining the situation that such a remark was allegedly made by her. She had only intended to say that it was due to the apathetic approach and reforms of the new administrator that a serious threat is being caused to the lives of the people of the islands and had absolutely no intention of exciting disaffection towards the government. On learning that her statement has given rise to several controversies, she had immediately taken to her social media account wherein she explained her stand and apologized for the statements made.
For an offence to fall under the ambit of section 124A IPC, the words spoken or written have to bring about hatred, contempt or displeasure against a government established by law and such words should have resulted in imminent violence. There is no case that the statement of the applicant has created disaffection towards the government or a case of imminent violence sparked by the words spoken by the applicant. The offences under section 153 B of the IPC also will not stand against her at the words spoken is not prejudicial to national integration or causing disharmony or feelings of enmity or hatred or ill-will, stated the petition.