The Kerala High Court on Friday rejected the anticipatory bail plea filed by Rehana Fathima, an Ernakulam based activist who attempted to enter Sabarimala when the temple opened in October for the first time post the Supreme Court verdict allowing entry to women of all ages. The HC further instructed the Kerala police to go ahead with necessary action against the activist, according to reports.
On October 22, the Pathanamthitta police filed a case against Rehana for putting up social media posts that are allegedly communally divisive in nature. Rehana had posted some photos of herself on her Facebook page, which several people took offence to. 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), Pathanamthitta CI Sunil Kumar confirmed to TNM.
The case was registered following a complaint filed by the Sabarimala Samrakshana Samithi alleging that her social media posts has hurt their religious sentiments. The complaint was directly handed over to the District Police Chief of Pathanamthitta by the Sabarimala Samrakshana Samiti secretary P Padmakumar. On October 30, Rehana moved the Kerala HC seeking anticipatory bail.
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). Her partner, Manoj Sreedhar, said that she had observed a 21-day fast as per the customs and practices.
However, due to massive protests by devotees and priests and threats from the tantri to shut down the temple if women enter, she had to return from the temple without praying.
Rehana’s house in Ernakulam was later vandalised by people as news spread that she attempted to enter the temple. Rehana's house, located near the BSNL quarters in Ernakulam, was vandalised. A BSNL employee, Rehana stays with her partner Manoj, who also accompanied her to the temple.
She and her family have also been expelled from the Muslim community by the Kerala Muslim Jama’th Council. “The Council has also directed the Ernakulam Central Muslim Jama’ath to expel her and her family from the membership of Mahallu,” a statement by Council president A Pookunju said. 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.”