The Kerala High Court Monday passed orders to restrict activist Rehana Fathima from disseminating her opinions and comments through any visual and electronic medium in connection with a case filed against her for the usage of the word ‘gomatha’ (mother cow) as a substitute for meat during one of her cookery shows.
The activist, who has repeatedly courted controversies on social media, had used the term ‘gomatha’ a number of times as a synonym for the meat that she was cooking on the show. Uploaded on YouTube in February this year, the show was even titled ‘gomamsam ulathiyath’.
Justice Sunil Thomas, hearing a petition that sought to recall the bail given to the activist in a 2018 case citing her repeated ‘objectionable’ posts on social media, noted that her usage of the word ‘gomatha’ is likely to wound the religious feelings of lakhs of Hindus.
“There is absolutely no material before this court to show that ‘gomatha’ is used as a synonym for meat anywhere in India. Choice of the word ‘gomatha ularth’ prima facie appears to be ill-motivated and purposefully made and that uploading of such a highly objectionable video for public viewing may affect the fundamental right of the devotees,” the order read.
Though the ‘natural consequence of such a serious violation’ should be to cancel the activist’s bail, the judge said he was “inclined to give her one last opportunity” on the belief that she will start recognising the rights of others.
The court said that until the trial in the 2018 case is over, Fathima shall not “directly or indirectly or through any other person publish, transmit, share, upload or disseminate any material or any of her comments through any visual and electronic media open to public”. The court also allowed the petitioner to approach the police in order to get the video removed from all social media platforms.
In 2018, Fathima had hit headlines when she attempted to climb the hill at Sabarimala and enter the temple in the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling allowing women of all ages to offer prayers at the temple. The activist, who was accompanied by a large posse of policemen during the ascent, was forced to return after a section of devotees and right-wing protesters opposed her entry. A case had also been filed against her that year for uploading photographs on social media that were seen as ‘offensive’ and insulting’ to Ayyappa devotees.
In June this year, a case was filed against her under various sections of POCSO Act, 2012, IT Act, 2000 and the JJ Act, 2015 for circulating a video on social media in which she appeared semi-nude, allowing her minor children to paint on her body.
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