A Muslim council in Kerala on Saturday announced the expulsion of activist Rehana Fathima from the community for “hurting the sentiments of lakhs of Hindu devotees”, PTI reported. Fathima had made an unsuccessful attempt to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala on Friday.
The Kerala Muslim Jama’ath Council asked the Ernakulam Central Muslim Jama’ath to expel the BSNL employee and her family from the community.
On October 19, protestors demonstrating against the Supreme Court’s decision to allow women of all ages to enter the shrine vandalised her home after she tried to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
Women of menstruating age have traditionally not been allowed into the temple, but a Supreme Court order last month put an end to the restriction. There have been protests outside the shrine since October 17, when the temple gates opened to devotees for monthly rituals for the first time since the court’s order. Protestors have blocked women devotees, activists and journalists who have tried to enter the temple since Wednesday.
The Muslim body also asked the Ernakulam Central Muslim Jama’ath to revoke her family’s Mahallu membership. The council’s president A Pookunju said her attempt to enter the temple was against Hindu rituals. “She also participated in the ‘kiss of love’ protest and performed in the nude in a film, and so has no right to use a Muslim name,” the council’s statement said.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Police registered a case against Fathima, based on a complaint lodged by a Thrikkodithanam resident, for allegedly hurting Hindu sentiments, Online Manorama reported.
Fathima told The Hindu that she will initiate legal action against the temple’s chief priest and the protestors. “I have decided to sue the chief priest, who along with the others joined the protesters and invoked my Muslim identity to call for purification of the hill route which I travelled,” the activist said. “Considering that the hill shrine is the most-known secular place of worship, their real intention was to outrage the religious feelings and thus cause a communal riot.”
On Monday, Fathima’s employer BSNL transferred her from its Boat Jetty office to Ravipuram in Kochi. It has also started an internal inquiry against her. In a Facebook post, Fathima said she got the transfer because of Ayyappa’s blessings. “I had requested for a transfer five years ago...” she wrote. “Earlier I used to drive for 45 minutes in heavy traffic to reach office. The new office is just two minutes walk from my home.”
In another post earlier, the activist had claimed that people had sent emails to her company complaining about her.
In March, Fathima stirred a controversy by posting pictures of herself with watermelons covering her chest after a Kozhikode professor said that “Muslim women who do not wear the hijab properly expose their breasts like sliced watermelon”.