Kerala HC rejects anticipatory bail plea of activist Rehana Fathima, who tried to enter Sabarimala temple in October

Kochi: The Kerala High Court Friday dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of activist Rehana Fathima, who had made an attempt to enter into Sabarimala when the temple was opened for monthly puja in October after the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women in the age group of 10 and 50 into the Lord Ayyappa shrine.

The activist was booked by the police in Pathanamthitta on the basis of a complaint filed by Radhakrishna Menon alleging some of her Facebook posts hurt religious sentiments. She was booked under Section 295A of IPC (outraging religious feelings).

Anticipating arrest, she moved the high court seeking anticipatory bail. Dismissing the bail plea, the court directed that the police can take appropriate steps in the case.

Fathima, a model and activist who was part of “Kiss of Love” movement in Kochi in 2014 against alleged moral policing, was among the two women who had reached the hilltop on October 19 but had to return before reaching the sanctum sanctorum following massive protests by Ayyappa devotees.

Fathima and Hyderabad-based journalist Kavitha were taken to the hills with heavy police protection. Meanwhile, the high court has granted bail to six people arrested for allegedly attacking police and preventing devotees at Nilackal, near Pamba, when the temple doors were opened for monthly puja last month.

Several journalists were attacked by devotees when the temple was opened for six days on October 17 for the first time after the Supreme Court order. On September 28, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra, lifted the centuries-old ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine but a section of devotees is protesting the decision.

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