Kerala high court asks activist Rehana Fathima to not use ‘gomatha’ as synonym for beef
Kerala High Court has barred activist Rehana Fathima from posting anything on the internet after a complaint was lodged against her for using “gomatha” to describe meat in one of her videos, saying the word could hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus who consider the cow as sacred, according to legal news website Bar and Bench. Fathima was heard repeatedly referring to meat as “gomatha” in a video of a cookery show on social media called “Gomatha Ularthu” while giving out the recipe, the website reported.
“There cannot be any dispute that the term ‘gomatha’ as is commonly understood is with reference to holy or sacred cows. Scriptures quoted by the complainant show that since the Vedic period, the 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 of the term gomatha as a synonym for meat used in a cookery show, prima facie, is likely to wound the religious feelings of those believers,” the bench headed by Justice Sunil Thomas observed.
Thomas also highlighted that the usage of the term also violated the conditions of the bail granted to her by Kerala High Court in 2018 in a separate case connected to the Sabarimala protests where she had published material offensive to Lord Ayyappa. The court had then, while granting bail to Fathima, directed that she should not through “print, electronic or visual media make, disseminate, share or forward any comment which has the propensity to affect religious sentiments of any community”, Bar and Bench reported.
The complainant, in that case, filed a complaint against Fathima and argued she has continuously repeated the word in order to hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus. “Uploading of such a highly objectionable video for public viewing may affect the fundamental right of the devotees,” the court pointed out. “Till the trial in Crime No.2405 of 2018 is over, accused shall not directly, indirectly or through any other person publish, transmit, share, upload or disseminate or publish any material or any of her comments through any visual and electronic media, open to public,” it said.
The high court has also asked her to remove the video from the internet. It also asked Fathima to report before the police on Mondays and Saturdays over the next three months.
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