Roy Mathew, the Public Relations Officer of BSNL confirmed to TNM that she will remain suspended until further investigations.

BSNL suspends activist Rehana Fathima following arrest
news Sabarimala Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 18:58

BSNL on Tuesday suspended their employee and activist, Rehana Fathima, following the latter’s arrest. Roy Mathew, the Public Relations Officer of BSNL confirmed to TNM that she will remain suspended until further investigations. Rehana was arrested by the Pathanamthitta police from her office in Kochi on Tuesday, for her Facebook post, which allegedly hurt the sentiments of the Ayyappa devotees.

A case was registered under IPC section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs). On October 30, Rehana moved the Kerala HC seeking anticipatory bail, which was rejected by the Kerala High Court on November 16. The High Court had further instructed the Kerala police to go ahead with necessary action against the activist, according to reports.

After her arrest, she was brought to Pathanamthitta police station, accompanied by numerous police officers.

Speaking to the media gathered outside the police station, she said, “It is the so-called brahmacharis who have been so disturbed by the sight of a woman’s bare leg.” This was a direct reference to the photograph she has reportedly been arrested for posting, which depicted her dressed as an Ayyappa devotee and seated in a position where a length of her leg was visible.

Rehana Fathima hit headlines as she was one of the six women who tried to enter the Sabarimala sanctum to offer her prayers to the deity. Rehana was given special protection by policemen who escorted her till the Nadapanthal, 500 metres away from the shrine. She was dressed like Ayyappa, in black clothes, carrying the irumudikettu (the two-layered sacred bundle without which devotees cannot enter the temple).

She is currently being held at Pathanamthitta police station, and will be produced before the Pathanamthitta Judicial Magistrate later on Tuesday evening.

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