Sabarimala: Activist Rehana Fathima arrested for allegedly ‘hurting religious sentiments’


Team Udayavani, Nov 27, 2018, 6:29 PM IST

Kochi: Activist Rehana Fathima, who had attempted to enter the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala when it opened for monthly puja last month, was arrested Tuesday for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through her Facebook posts, police said.

Fathima (32) was arrested from office in Palarivattom in Kochi, they said.

The activist, a BSNL employee, was booked by police in Pathanamthitta on a complaint by Radhakrishna Menon, alleging that some of her Facebook posts hurt religious sentiments.

She was booked under IPC Section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).

She was later taken to Pathanamathitta after her arrest, police said.

Meanwhile, a BSNL spokesperson said Fathima was suspended from service in view of the police investigation against her.

Considering the protest against her by devotees of Lord Ayyappa and BJP activists, the BSNL had earlier transferred her to the Palarivattom telephone exchange in the city where public contact is not required.

A controversy had erupted in Kerala after Fathima made an attempt to enter the Sabarimala temple when it was opened for monthly puja in October following the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women in the age group of 10-50.

Anticipating arrest, she had moved the high court seeking anticipatory bail, but it was rejected.

Dismissing the plea, the court had directed that police could take appropriate steps in the case.

Fathima, who was also part of the ‘Kiss of Love’ movement in Kochi in 2014 against alleged moral policing, was among the two women who had reached the hilltop on October 19 but had to return before reaching the sanctum sanctorum due to massive protests by Ayyappa devotees.

Fathima and Hyderabad-based journalist Kavitha were taken to the hills under heavy police protection.

Some young women who tried to enter the temple were targeted by devotees when the temple was opened for six days on October 17 for the first time after the apex court order.

On September 28, the Supreme court had lifted the centuries-old ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine, but a section of devotees is protesting the decision

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