Rehana Fathima moves Kerala HC for bail

Rehana Fathima moves Kerala HC for bail
Rehana Fathima, who made an attempt to enter the hill shrine in Sabarimala.

Kochi: Activist Rehana Fathima, arrested for allegedly posting controversial remarks on Ayyappa devotees and Sabarimala on social media, Monday moved the Kerala High Court for bail.

Fathima, 39, who unsuccessfully tried to visit the Lord Ayyappa temple in October, submitted that the Constitution guaranteed freedom of speech and she should be granted bail "in the interest of justice".

She is an accused in a case registered by the Pathnamthitta Police 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 was alleged to have posted some pictures on her Facebook account and written her opinion which hurt the religious sentiments of Ayyappa devotees.

Fathima, a BSNL employee, was arrested from her office here on November 27 and remanded to judicial custody. Her bail plea was rejected by the judicial magistrate court at Pathnamthitta earlier.

While the state government has decided to implement a Supreme Court verdict permitting women of all ages to offer prayers at the Sabarimala temple, the Congress-led UDF and the BJP have said they are with the believers and against the entry of young women.

Fathima had courted controversy when she attempted to trek to Sabarimala along with a Hyderabad-based journalist Kavitha during the 'thulamasa' puja in October.

They were escorted by police officers, but had to return following stiff opposition from the right-wing activists who are opposing the entry of women of menstruating age to the temple.

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