Kerala High Court yesterday put a restraint on ‘activist’ Rehana Fathima, who had tried to desecrate Sabarimala temple, regarding the use of word ‘Gomatha’ (gaumata) for beef in a cookery video that she had uploaded on social media. Rebuking Fathima, the High Court said that the video was likely to hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus who worship cow.
Fathima, whose Hindu hatred had come to fore after the Supreme Court judgment in Sabarimala case, had uploaded a cookery video titled ‘Gomatha Ularthu’ narrating the the recipe for a beef dish. Fathima was constantly referring to the meat as ‘Gomatha’ throughout the video.
Fathima violated her bail order condition
A single-judge Bench of Sunil Thomas noted, “There cannot be any dispute that the term “Gomatha” as is commonly understood is with reference to holy or sacred cow. Scriptures quoted by the complainant show that since the Vedic period, cow is revered as holy as deities in India. If it is so believed by several lakhs of Hindus throughout the country, definitely, the use in a cookery show, prima facie, is likely to wound the religious feelings of those believers”.
The court observed that Fathima’s act violated the bail condition imposed on her by the High Court in a 2018 case relating to the publication of derogatory material about Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity of Sabarimala temple. While granting bail to Fathima in that case, the High Court had directed her not to make, disseminate, share or forward any comment which has the propensity to affect religious sentiments of any community through print, electronic or visual media.
Contentions of complainant
The complainant had sought the withdrawal of Fathima’s bail order on the ground that the video uploaded by her was in violation of the bail condition. It was contended by the complainant that Fathima had recurrently used the term “Gomatha” deliberately to hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus who consider cow as sacred. The court agreed with the vies of the complainant and said, “Uploading of such a highly objectionable video for public viewing may affect the fundamental right of the devotees”.
The High Court said that there was sufficient reason to cancel her bail on this ground, however, it refrained from taking such an action against her. Ordering her to remove the video, the High Court warned her not to use visual or electronic media to publish, share, transmit or disseminate any material or comments.
“The arrest and detention of the accused in two crimes has not improved the conduct of the accused. Still, on a firm belief that she will start recognising the rights of others also and that exercise of one’s right to freedom of speech and expression should not offend the fundamental and statutory rights of others, am inclined to give her one last opportunity”, the court said.
The Court also directed her to report before the concerned jurisdictional police station on every Mondays and Saturdays between 9 am and 10 am for a period of 3 months.
Fathima’s controversial videos
Former model and ‘Kiss for Love’ campaign supporter was earlier booked under the Juvenile Justice Act and the section 67 of the Information Technology Act (Electronically transmitting sexually explicit content) for posting a video showing her children painting her naked torso. She was fired from BSNL after a probe found that her Facebook messages had incited communal tension and she had violated service rules. The state-run company asked her to vacate the residential quarter she was living in after the case filed against her for uploading the body-painting video.