Kerala police registered a case against activist Rehana Fathima on Tuesday after a video of her two children drawing on her half-naked body started circulating on social media.
Thiruvalla Police in Pathanamthitta district, registered a case, under Section 67 (electronically transmitting sexually explicit content) of IT Act, and Section 75 (punishment for cruelty to child) of Juvenile Justice Act, based on a complaint by a lawyer, Arun Prakash.
The activist, who made headlines for her attempt to enter the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala two years ago, had shared a video on Facebook of her son and daughter painting on her semi-naked body on June 19. A post with the hashtag #BodyArtPolitics accompanied the video.
Fathima said the video was made to highlight how women need to be open about sex and their bodies in a society where topics like sex and nudity are taboo. She added that these lessons should begin from one's own home.
"The feminine body and its nakedness are more than 55 kg of flesh, compared to the male body. A male may be aroused by a woman wearing leggings, while the man standing with his knees bent over his chest and his legs half-naked, forces men and women to approach the body in another manner," she wrote on the social media platform.
Fathima added: "It is the fake sexual consciousness of society. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is porn in the eyes of the beholder."
The video drew criticism from social media users, with many claiming that the act amounted to child abuse. However, the police have not booked her under the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
Veteran psychiatrist Dr CJ John said that he does not find any obscenity in the artistic interaction involving a mother and her kids, but raised questions over it being made public.
"I don't find any obscenity in this artistic interaction involving a mother and her kids. However, it could have been limited to a private affair. Why should it be filmed and thrown open to the use of the public? Isn't there a shade of child abuse in the act where an adult uses two minors, who are ignorant and innocent of what they are doing, for the sake of a political statement?" John said.
Recently, 34- year old Rehana Fathima was asked to take compulsory retirement from state-run BSNL after the controversy that erupted following her trip to Sabrimala.
The BSNL order said her attempt to enter the temple has “spoiled the reputation” of the communication company and asked her to take compulsory retirement. According to the company, Fathima's acts were “subversive of discipline and amount to misconduct”.
Fathima, who was a technician with the company, had been suspended from service following her arrest in November 2018 over her Facebook posts.
Fathima sparked controversy when she made an attempt to enter the hill shrine when it was opened for monthly puja in October 2018 after the Supreme Court order allowed the entry of women in the age group of 10-50.