Activist Rehana Fathima says Kids Painted her Naked body for imparting Sex Education, Court Rejects Argument, Bail Plea

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The Kerala HC on Friday rejected the bail petition of activist Rehana Fathima who is facing a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso) & other charges for posting a video of her minor children painting on her partially-naked body.

The court rejected her contention that she allowed her children to paint her to impart sex education. The court observed that while she was free to do this privately in her house to educate children, the intention behind her publicizing the video of the act cannot be good & it attracted charges related to obscene representation of children.

Her video with her two children–a 14-year-old boy & an eight-year-old girl– had triggered much outrage after it was circulated last month, prompting police to book her under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, Juvenile Justice Act & other sections. A lower court turned down her bail plea following which she moved the HC.

Her plea states her acts were intended to enable her children to view body & body parts “as a different medium altogether rather than seeing it as a sexual look alone.” She also stated that if children grew up seeing natural bodies, “their minds will be liberated of hyper-sexualization of women.”

“In a sexually frustrated society, women simply don’t feel safe in clothes. It is high time to open up & tell children what the female body is all about & what sex & sexuality really mean,” she said in her plea. The court had earlier watched the video & rejected her contention & asked her to stand trial.

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“If the painting on the body of the petitioner happened inside four walls of her house, there cannot be any offence. After watching the picture, the court appreciates the talents of children. But not in the way the petitioner encouraged them by uploading the video. We can’t accept her view it was part of sex education,” the single bench headed by Justice P V Kunhikrishnan observed. After the High Court decision, Fathima said she will move the Top Court soon.

Initially, Fathima had posted the video clip on Facebook but later she uploaded it on YouTube. She rationalized her act by saying her kids did the painting while she was resting & called it a beautiful artwork. “Just as beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, so is porn in the eyes of the beholder,” she wrote in the post. There was a big outcry after her post surfaced.

Fathima was dismissed as a junior technician with the BSNL in Ernakulam in May this year after many cases came up against her. Last year she was arrested on a complaint filed by a right wing activist claiming she hurt the religious feelings of the Hindu community by posting an objectionable picture on social media. She was in jail for two months.

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After her unsuccessful attempt to trek to Sabarimala temple in 2018 along with a Hyderabad-based digital journalist Kavitha Jakkala, she was excommunicated by the Muslim Jamaath Council. Her house was later vandalised by protestors.

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