Activist Rehana Fathima, who attempted to climb Sabarimala in October, has been arrested by the Pathanamthitta police on Tuesday. Rehana was arrested for her Facebook post, which allegedly hurt the sentiments of the Ayyappa devotees. She was arrested from Kochi by the Pathanamthitta police, and is currently being taken to the Pathanamthitta town police station for questioning.
On October 22, the Pathanamthitta police filed a case against Rehana Fatima for putting up social media posts that are allegedly communally divisive in nature. One of them was a photo of herself that Rehana had posted on her Facebook page, which several people took offence to. Rehana had posted a picture on Facebook on September 30, dressed as an Ayyappa devotee wearing a rudraksha and sporting a patta, with the caption ‘Thathvamasi’. The case was registered following a complaint filed by the Sabarimala Samrakshana Samithi alleging that her social media posts have 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.
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 said. 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.
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).
The model and activist has been in controvesies in social media circles in Kerala for being outspoken about her views. After her attempted Sabarimala climb, Rehana, who was employed at BSNL’s Kochi boat jetty branch as a phone mechanic, was transferred to Ravipuram to a role that reportedly did not require any direct contact or communication with customers.