A maulvi (cleric) was arrested on Thursday from a madrassa in Hyderabad for sexually abusing 6 minor children. He has been charged under IPC 377, 506 and POCSO, and is currently being questioned in judicial custody.
The accused is, Rehman Ansari, 23, a native of Bihar. In June 2017, Ansari joined a madrasa at Zeba Bagh in Asif Nagar as an instructor. Ansari used to stay in the room provided to him at the madrasa and teach the students.
There are 25 students enrolled in the madrasa and 22 of them were currently attending the classes, Asif Nagar ACP K Ashok Chakravarthy said. Out of the 22 students, 18 are from Bihar and the rest are from Hyderabad. All the students are aged between eight and 11 years.
Except for two local students, rest of the students have been staying at the madrasa and pursuing the education.
The incident of sexual assault came to light on April 29 when an eight-year-old boy went to his house and told his father about Ansari raping him at the Madrasa.
The victim’s father who is a businessman, immediately went to madrasa and confronted Ansari. When he claimed innocence, the victim’s father spoke to other boys who were residential students and two of them came forward saying that Ansari had sexually assaulted them.
The victim’s father lodged a complaint with the Asif Nagar police against Ansari and a case was registered against the teacher who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education under section 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC, sections 5 and 6 of the POCSO Act.
Police then sent the victim to Bharosa centre for counselling. The other students at the Madrasa were also counselled by professionals at the Bharosa centre and their statements were recorded. We found out that Ansari has sexually assaulted six boys during the past two months, the ACP said. Ansari assaulted most of the boys in his room at the Madrasa.
A medical examination was conducted on the victims and the accused was remanded in judicial custody on Wednesday. Other instructors are conducting classes at the Madrasa and the families of the non local boys were informed about the incident.
A madrassa is an Islamic religious school usually attached to a mosque. It functions as a theological seminary, with a curriculum centred on the Quran and Hadith.
Incidents of child abuse – sexual, physical and mental – have been regularly reported in madrassas across the world.
A BBC investigation in 2011 had found that Britain’s madrassas faced more than 400 allegations of physical abuse in the past three years, with families often facing community pressure not to go to court or even to make a formal complaint.
Last year, an Associated Press(AP) investigation found that sexual abuse in Pakistan’s madrassas is as common as discussing it is taboo. The investigation shed light on this phenomenon, which is stated to be prevalent throughout the country- from isolated rural communities to urban metropolises.
In 2015, journalist VP Rajeena and director Ali Akbar both came out with startling revelations about sexual abuse in madrassas that they had attended as a child.
Isn’t it time that Muslim society in India and self-avowed liberals & intellectuals like Irfan Habib, AG Noorani, politicians like Salman Khurshid, Asaduddin Owaisi and celebrity activists like Javed Akhtar, Aamir Khan, Shabana Azmi etc turned their focus on this festering issue within the lakhs of madrassas that dot our country? Or will bringing up this issue also be dismissed as Islamophobia?
(Featured image: Representative only)