Activist Rehana Fathima on Saturday surrendered before the police in Ernakulam, Kerala, a day after the Supreme Court of India rejected her anticipatory bail plea in a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences case, The New Indian Express reported. The case was filed against her for circulating a video in which her children were seen painting on her semi-nude body.
“After the Supreme Court rejected anticipatory bail, she was summoned to the police station,” the police said. “After appearing before us, we recorded her statement. She will be produced before the magistrate court to be remanded in the case.”
Fathima has also been booked under the Information Technology Act, 2000, and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, Hindustan Times reported.
Rejecting the activist’s bail plea, the Supreme Court bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, on Friday said the video of Fathima and her children was “clearly obscene” and pornographic.
In her Supreme Court petition, Fathima said that even goddesses in Kerala were depicted in idols with bare breasts, NDTV reported. “When one prays at the temple the feeling is not of sexual arousal but one of divinity,” she said. “Does female nudity (even when not visible) per se constitute obscenity? (Can) children painting on their mother’s body be concluded to be sexual gratification and child abuse under these stringent laws?”
Fathima had approached the top court after the Kerala High Court rejected her anticipatory bail petition on July 24. Defending her video, the activist had said that her intention was to “normalise the female form for her children and not allow distorted ideas of sexualisation to pervade their minds,” according to NDTV. The High Court had said that Fathima’s video was “problematic” and amounted to an “obscene representation” of children for “sexual gratification”.
In 2018, Fathima, who advocates gender equality, had made news after she tried to enter the Sabarimala temple following the Supreme Court’s order allowing menstruating women inside the temple. She was unsuccessful in her attempt.