In yet another shocking and shameful incident of crime against minors, a maulvi has been arrested in Hyderabad for sexually assaulting six children. In this week, this is the second incident of sexual abuse against minors in Madrasa but the placards and candle-marches are conspicuously missing. The maulvi has been allegedly sexually exploiting minors for over two months in a Madrasa located in Zebanagar area of Hyderabad. The police has arrested the accused under 377, 506 IPC, 5 & 6 of POCSO Act. All the six victims are between the ages of six to eight years and have been rescued and sent for counseling.
The accused has been identified as Mohammed Rehan who is a native of Bihar. He is a graduate in Urdu. During the police interrogation, Mohammed Rehan has confessed to his crime of sexually assaulting the minors repeatedly. He has also revealed the names of the victims. The police reported that, “After the classes, Mohammed Rehan used to take the victims to the washroom and there, he sexually assaulted them.” Sexual abuse of children inside Madrasa is not a new phenomenon. Fifty one girls were rescued from a Madrasa in Lucknow last year only. In February, a 67 year old Madrasa teacher was arrested for raping a nine-year old girl inside a Madrasa in Narel, New Delhi. A Madrasa teacher, along with three others, was arrested for sexually abusing a minor girl in Aurangabad. He even threatened to kill the girl if she dared to disclose the matter.. Another 70 years old Madarsa teacher, Zafar Alam, was arrested for raping a nine-year old in a Madrasa in Delhi.
These shocking incidents are indicative of widespread abuse of minor girls by ostensible religious leaders and are abomination to a civilized society. At least now there is a law to tackle these kinds of acts of depravity. Recently, in a Landmark decision, Modi government approved an ordinance to award death sentence to child rapists under the POCSO act. The Union Cabinet cleared the ordinance to award death penalty to those convicted of raping children up to 12 years of age. Later on, President Ramnath Kovind gave his nod to the ordinance.
According to NCRB Data of 2016, incidents of rape have increased by over 82% compared to 2015. In recent times, we have witnessed two more gruesome incidents of rape against minors, one in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district and the other one in a Madrasa of Ghaziabad, UP. Despite the fact that there is a sharp increase in child rapes and recent horrendous rape incidents against the minors, there are people like Brinda Karat who oppose the death penalty even for those accused of sexually abusing minors. Opposing the death penalty, she said, “In principle, my party, the CPI (M), is against death penalty.”
It is indeed unfortunate that people like her are playing politics over such a sensitive issue. Unfortunately, she is not alone. There is an array of advocates, feminists and journalists like Karuna Nandy, Shekhar Gupta, Harjot Singh Bal, Anundiyo Chakraborty and Ashutosh who opposed the death penalty to child rape convicts.
Catholic Church India also opposed the government’s move of death penalty for reasons that might be clear only to them. Jaipur Catholic Church went one step ahead and asked to pray and fast for an alleged child molester.
In the aftermath of the Kathua rape case, we witnessed another phony outrage by the self-appointed moral guardians of society. However, none were as revolting as the placard carrying actors from Bollywood. When Bollywood did manage to muster its voice, it was only to malign an entire community and its religious symbols. One actress, who has named her son after a genocidal maniac who reveled in the sexual exploitation of women, was also seen carrying a placard. Another actress whose father can be seen beside Dawood, the dreaded underworld don, in pictures that were doing the rounds on social media, was also seen carrying a placard that appears to target the Hindu faith more than the actual perpetrators of the heinous crime. And there is a third one who felt reduced to female genitalia after watching Padmaavat. There is no outrage from their side, and considering their glorious track record, it will be worthless to expect anything from them.
The sanctioning of such despicable activities not only emboldens the perpetrators but also furthers the agony of the victims and hinders the process of swift justice. Child molesters and rapists deserve fitting punishment for their crimes and POCSO amendment is a step in the right direction. Instead of engaging in rhetoric just for the sake of it, we should be united in our quest to eradicate this social evil from our society.