Amid facing sedition charges for her comments on the spread of Covid-19 in Lakshadweep, filmmaker Aisha Sulthana, on Friday said that she will continue fighting for the islands and her voice will only grow louder from now on.
Her remarks come just days after she was booked by the Lakshadweep Police for her comments on a television debate, when she allegedly said that the Central government used ‘biological weapons’ for the spread of Covid-19 in Lakshadweep. She was booked based on a complaint filed by BJP's Lakshadweep unit president, Abdul Khader.
Sulthana hails from Chetiath island in Lakshadweep. Locals in the island are currently protesting legislator Praful Kodha Patel’s slew of new measures, which they claim will adversely impact the islanders’ unique culture.
"I did not raise my voice for the land just so that I will lose my strength when they attempt to weaken me. From now my voice will only grow louder," Sulthana wrote on Facebook.
According to the FIR lodged by Kavaratti police, a case under sections 124 A (sedition) and 153 B (hate speech) of the Indian Penal code has been registered against the filmmaker.
"The BJP leader who filed the case hails from Lakshadweep. While he betrays his native land, I will keep fighting for it. It is the betrayers who will find themselves alone tomorrow," she said in her post.
"Now to the people of Lakshadweep: The sea protects you and you protect it in return. What the betrayers have and what we don't is fear," Sulthana said in the post.
The BJP leader, in his complaint, has alleged that Sulthana's was an anti-national act, which tarnished the "patriotic image" of the central government and and sought action against her.
The Lakshadweep-based model and actor Sulthana has worked with several Malayalam filmmakers.
This comes in the backdrop of protests by islanders seeking repeal of the proposed Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation, the Lakshadweep Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Regulation (PASA or the Goondas Act) and the Lakshadweep Animal Preservation Regulation (LAPR).
Recently, social media has been flooded with #SaveLakshadweep, with thousands of others trending the hashtag.
Expressing solidarity with the people of Lakshadweep, the Kerala Assembly had unanimously passed a resolution on May 31, demanding the recall of the administrator and requesting that the Centre immediately intervene to protect the lives and livelihood of the islanders.
(With PTI inputs)