New Delhi :
The Kerala police has refused to provide protection to activist Rehana Fathima for her visit to Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala in line with the state government’s stand that it would not provide any security to women of the previously banned age group unless they have a court order. The 30-year-old woman activist had tried to enter the Sabarimala temple in October last year with police protection but was not allowed by right wing mob.
She had approached top police officials seeking protection during her visit to the Sabarimala temple where entry of women of the 10-50 age group are barred. Although the Supreme Court last year removed the ban right wing mob launched protests and didn’t allow any woman of the banned age group to enter the temple.
Recently, the Supreme Court had decided to refer the review petitions against its last year’s judgment to a larger constitution bench. Following the top court’s decision, the Kerala government had decided not to provide protection to any woman of the barred age group their attempt to visit the hill shrine.
"The policy of the government on the issue is very clear. The matter is with the Supreme Court. Since the court itself is reviewing its order permitting entry of women in the age group of 10 and 50 in the shrine, it is not possible for the police to provide protection to her at this stage," news agency PTI quote a police official as saying.
Police could provide protection if she secured an order from the apex court in this regard, the official said, referring to the state governments stand on the matter. It had been clearly stated that the state was under no legal compulsion to shield women rights campaigners who endeavoured to enter Sabarimala, the official added.
Fathima, a model-cum-activist, was arrested last year on charges of attempting to disrupt public peace by posting religiously controversial comments about Ayyappa devotees and Sabarimala on social media.