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Lakshadweep filmmaker Aisha Sultana was granted interim protection from arrest by the Kerala High Court on Thursday over her ‘bioweapon’ remark against the government. The filmmaker along with the island’s natives has been protesting the reforms which were earlier announced by BJP’s new Administrator Praful Khoda Patel.

Sultana had appeared on a television debate on a Malayalam news channel on 7 June and criticised Patel. As per reports, she called the administrator “a bioweapon deployed by the Centre” against the people of Lakshadweep. BJP leader C Abdul Khadar Haji filed a police complaint against Sultana.

While the Kerala HC has granted her interim protection from arrest in the sedition case, it has also directed her to cooperate with the police as well as appear for interrogation as and when required. In a Facebook post, Sultana defended her stance and wrote, “I was referring to some of the decisions of Patel which infuriated local people. Despite popular sentiment, he continues to antagonise people. As a local resident, I have every right to criticise him.”

The residents of Lakshadweep have been protesting in person and via social media Patel’s new rules. According to a report in HT, over a dozen leaders from Lakshadweep also quit the BJP last week protesting against the sedition charges slapped Aisha Sultana.

In a strong message, Sultana shared a photo wearing black along with a mask and wrote, “No longer will we, the people of Lakshadweep tolerate fascism. We will stand against totalitarian policies, and we will survive this siege on Lakshadweep. As long as fascism tries to discriminate, my voice will never abate.”

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