In a heinous incident, a 25-year-old Maulana, also a madrasa teacher, has been apprehended for sodomising at least ten minor students in Junagadh, Gujarat. The accused, who was responsible for imparting Urdu education at the madrasa, is now facing serious charges that have left the local community reeling.
Adding to the gravity of the situation, a 55-year-old trustee of the madrasa has also been taken into custody for neglecting the students’ complaints against the teacher. This shocking revelation has brought to light the kind of sexual exploitation that persists in madrasas and is often covered under the garb of religious preaching.
The Junagadh Police issued an official statement on Monday, October 23, confirming the arrests. The Maulana has been found in hiding in Surat and was apprehended, while the madrasa trustee, who had managed to flee the scene, was later detained in Junagadh.
Victim’s family reached out to Police
The case unfolded after a courageous 17-year-old boy, a student at the madrasa located on the Mangrol-Veraval bypass, managed to use a teacher’s mobile phone to contact his mother and report the unspeakable acts committed by the Maulana against students. His desperate call for help prompted his mother to approach the police and file a complaint, accusing the madrasa teacher of sexually assaulting students who lived and studied within the institution.
On October 21, the police, with the assistance of concerned Muslim leaders, visited the madrasa premises. They embarked on the challenging task of gaining the trust of the students who had fallen victim to these horrifying acts. Shockingly, ten boys studying at the madrasa revealed that they had been subjected to these reprehensible actions by the Maulana. They further disclosed that the teacher had threatened them with dire consequences if they dared to report these incidents to their parents.
As if this weren’t troubling enough, the students also revealed that they had approached the madrasa’s trustee to report the abuse, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. Instead of taking swift action against the teacher, the trustee facilitated the accused’s escape from the area, compounding the injustice suffered by the young victims.
Police on its toes
In response to the mounting outrage and distress within the community, Harshad Mehta, the Superintendent of Police in Junagadh, personally visited the madrasa as part of the ongoing investigation. He met with the concerned parents of the students and assured them that the police would carry out a thorough and impartial inquiry into the matter.
The disconcerting reality is that this incident is far from isolated. Month after month, reports surface from various madrasas across the country, shedding light on the horrifying trend of clerics engaging in sexual exploitation of underage children. Reportedly, the documented cases number between 10 to 15 every month. However, it is widely acknowledged that the actual count may be significantly higher, with many victims and their families refraining from lodging complaints due to fear and the associated social stigma surrounding such traumatic occurrences.