Support is pouring in from all quarters for actor and activist Aisha Sultana who has been booked under sedition charges on a case filed by BJP after she made contentious remark about the COVID-19 situation in the union territory at a panel discussion on a Malayalam news channel

The Kavaratti police of Lakshadweep registered the case against Aisha, a native of Chetiath Island, based on a complaint lodged by BJP leader of Lakshadweep Abdul Khader. According to the complaint, Aisha said in TV debate that the central government used bio-weapon to spread Covid-19 in Lakshadweep. As per the FIR lodged by the Kavaratti police, a case under sections 124 A (sedition) and 153 B (hate speech) of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against Aisha Sultana.

In a Facebook note responding to the reports of the sedition case, Aisha wrote that only truth shall prevail. “BJP leader who filed the complaint is from Lakshadweep. He continues to betray his home land and I will continue fighting for it. Tomorrow, those who betrayed will be isolated,” she said.

Senior congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor has requested that the case against Aisha Sulata should be dropped as it does not involve incitement to violence. “ In our  democracy, criticism of a Government that does not involve incitement to violence is not seditious, a principle the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld and that various state police forces have more repeatedly ignored. I even introduced a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament in 2014-15 to “read down” the sedition Law as to make the SC interpretation clear. Applying the wrong interpretation to charge Aisha Sultana is little more than harassment,” he said.

The sedition case will fail in courts as it does not meet basic standards, but she will be made to suffer till then. The process is the punishment. It is a total abuse of the process of law and unworthy of our democracy, Tharoor added. Kerala Minister V Sivankutty also supported Aisha Sultana, saying that the case against Sultana must be withdrawn, He described her as a popular face of the struggle against the dictatorial and fascist policies of the Lakshadweep administration. Students Federation of India (SFI) has expressed solidarity to Aisha Sultana in a twitter note. “What is happening in Lakshadweep is unacceptable. The use of sedition law as a tool to silence critiques, needs to be stopped,” he said.

M K Muneer MLA, leader of Indian Union  Muslim League , has extended also party’s support to Aisha Sultana. In a facebook post, Muneer said that the sedition case against Aisha Sultana is unjustifiable.  “Secular people across the country will unite to support Aisha Sultana in her fight against the wrong policies of Lakshadweep administrator,” he said.

Revolutionary Marxist Party leader K Rema MLA expressed solidarity with Aisha Sultana as the actor-model face sedition charges for what looks like an innocuous remark. Lakshadweep Sahithya Pravarthaka Sangham, a collective of eminent cultural personalities in Laksha Dweep, has already come up in support of Aisha Sultana who has been vocal against the recent contentious administrative orders in the union territory.

In surprising turn of events, a number of BJP leaders in Lakshadweep, led by general secretary Abdul Hameed Mullipuzha, have handed in their resignation from the party, terming the case against filmmaker Aisha Sultana “false and unjustifiable

In a letter to BJP’s Lakshadweep unit president Abdul Khader, the party leaders said at a time when BJP workers in Lakshadweep have been protesting against the “undemocratic actions” of UT administrator Praful Patel, “you have filed a false and unjustified complaint” against Sultana, and “ruining her family and her future”.

The letter further stated that the actions taken by Patel were “anti-people, anti-democratic and causing extreme suffering among people. You also know that several BJP leaders of Lakshadweep have already spoken on the various wrongdoings of administrator and the district collector. It’s just in the same way that Chetlat resident Aisha Sultana also shared her opinion in the media,” the letter said.