Activist Rehana Fathima surrenders before Kochi police


Controversial activist Rehana Fathima surrendered before the police here on Saturday, a day after the Supreme Court dismissed her anticipatory bail plea in cases against her for circulating a video in which she was semi-nude, allowing her minor children to paint on her body.

Police said Fathima presented herself before the South Police station under the Kochi Commissionerate this afternoon. The activist will be produced before the magistrate court here after completing formalities of her arrest, they said. The allegation against Fathima, who made an attempt to enter the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala in 2018, is that she asked her children, a boy and girl aged 14 and 8 respectively to paint on her semi-nude body.

The video was shot by her and uploaded on social media. After the video was found by the Cyber Dome of Kochi Police, a case was registered against the activist in June, for offences punishable under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act), Information Technology Act, 2000 and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. Dismissing the anticipatory bail petition of Fathima, the Supreme Court on Friday had said the court is a little baffled at the kind of case that has come up before it.

The top court further observed as to what kind of impression the children will get about the culture of this country through such videos. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari said this kind of thing is unthinkable and would leave the society in a bad taste. She had moved the apex court after the Kerala High Court on July 24 dismissed her anticipatory bail plea, observing that it was not in a position to agree with the petitioner that she should teach sex education to her children in this manner.

Earlier, the woman was also booked by the police in Pathanamthitta district under the Information Technology Act and the Juvenile Justice Act on a complaint lodged by BJP OBC Morcha leader A V Arun Prakash. The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights had also directed the police to register a case against the woman under various sections of the POCSO Act.

After the Supreme Court allowed women in traditionally barred age groups of 10-50 into the Sabarimala temple in September 2018, Fathima made an attempt to enter the shrine, but had to retreat following protests by Hindu activists and devotees. Fathima was sacked from employment by the state-run BSNL in May this year for her intentional act of outraging the religious feelings of devotees through social media posts.

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