Thiruvananthapuram: A conditional bail was granted to activist and suspended BSNL employee Rehana Fathima by the Kerala High Court on Friday. Fathima was arrested by Pathanamthitta police for hurting the religious sentiments.
On December 10, the 39-year-old activist moved the Kerala High Court seeking bail “in the interest of justice”. After failed attempts to enter the Sabarimala temple in October, she demanded that the Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech should grant her bail. Fathima faced stiff opposition from the right-wing activists when she was trekking to Sabarimala along with a Hyderabad-based journalist Kavitha during the ‘thulamasa’ puja in October. Despite the fact that they had escorted by police officers, the journalists were forced to return by certain activists who were against the entry of women of menstruating age to the temple.
According to the case registered against her, Fathima was charged for offences punishable under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs). She had allegedly posted controversial remarks on Ayyappa devotees and Sabarimala on her social media platform.
On November 27, the BSNL employee was arrested from her office and remanded to judicial custody. Her bail plea was earlier rejected by the judicial magistrate court at Pathanamthitta.
The Kerala Government has decided to permit women of all ages to enter the precincts of Sabarimala and offer prayers, as stated by the Supreme Court verdict on September 28. However, the Congress-led UDF and the BJP are against the entry of women of menstruating age and said that their support rests with the believers.
(With Agency inputs)