Activist Rehana Fathima, who attempted to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple on Friday, has been expelled from the Muslim community. The Kerala Muslim Jama’ath Council has directed the Ernakulam Central Muslim Jama’ath (CMJ) to expel Rehana and her family.
A Poonkunju, the Council president, informed the decision in a press statement issued on Saturday. “The Council has also directed the Ernakulam Central Muslim Jama’ath to expel her and her family from the membership of Mahallu,” the statement read. Poonkunju also added that Rehana’s act has hurt the Hindu devotees and is against the rituals of the Hindu community.
On Friday, Rehana Fathima, along with Hyderabad journalist Kavitha Jakkala and her crew, trekked the Sabarimala amid tight police protection. She was dressed like an Ayyappa, in black clothes, carrying irumudikkikettu (the sacred bundle). Her partner Manoj Sreedhar had claimed that she observed a 21-day fast as per the customs and practices.
The Council also expressed their displeasure over Rehana's participation in the 'kiss of love’ agitation in 2014 and for “acting in a film, nude”.
“So, she has no right to use a Muslim name. The state government should register a case against her under section 153A of the IPC for creating communal hatred,” the statement added.
Rehana and Kavitha were 500 meters away from the steps of the temple when they were stopped due to growing protest and Kerala government's intervention on Friday. Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said it was not the time to show their power of activism and said activists cannot be allowed inside the temple.
The two women later agreed to return and were escorted back to safety. Meanwhile, the activist’s house in Kochi was allegedly vandalised by an unidentified mob.
According to a report in The Hindu, the activist will seek a legal recourse against the chief priest of the Sabarimala temple for joining the protesters and for using her Muslim identity to call for the purification of the route that she took. “Considering that the hill shrine is the most-known secular place of worship, their real intention was to outrage the religious feelings and thus cause a communal riot,’’ she said.
She also plans to take action against the protesters for using children as human-shield during the protest on Friday.