Sabarimala row: BSNL transfers its activist employee Rehana Fathima
Activist Rehana Fathima, a BSNL employee who had made an attempt to enter the Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala, has been transferred to the Palarivattom telephone exchange in Kochi where public contact is not required, sources said. Fathima, a telecom technician working in the customer relations section at the Boat Jetty branch in Kochi, was Tuesday transferred to the telephone exchange at Palarivattom.
The Sabarimala Karma Samithi Tuesday organized a protest march to the Palarivattom BSNL office, seeking Fathima's expulsion. However, the sources said she has not committed dereliction of duty. The Kerala Muslim Jama'ath Council had expelled Fathima from the Muslim community for "hurting sentiments of Hindu devotees". Her house was allegedly vandalized by unidentified people after she made a failed attempt to reach the temple.
Fathima, a model and an activist, was among the two women who reached the Sabarimala hilltop but had to return before reaching the sanctum sanctorum following massive protests by Ayyappa devotees. A mother of two, the activist had kicked up a row last year by posing for photos topless with watermelons to protest against a Kozhikode-based college professor's statement comparing women's breasts to watermelons.
A case has been registered by police in Pathanamthitta against activist Fathima for hurting religious sentiments. On September 28 this year, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the then chief justice Dipak Misra had lifted the centuries-old ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine, but a section of devotees has been protesting the decision.