A little girl was discovered dead inside the library of a Madrassa in Balaramapuram, Kerala. The deceased’s relatives accused a teacher of torturing her, raising major worries about the safety and well-being of pupils in Madrasas.
Asmiya, a 12th-grade student was discovered hanging inside the library of Al Aman Educational Complex in Balaramapuram, Thiruvananthapuram.
The girl’s mother filed a complaint at the Balaramapuram police station after learning of the alleged mental torment inflicted on her daughter.
The tragic death of a 17-year-old girl at a religious education institute in Thiruvananthapuram has sparked outrage in Kerala, with people demanding ‘Justice for Asmiya’ on social media.
In response, officials filed a case under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc) and launched an investigation.
Asmiya is the daughter of Rahmathu Beevi and Nasirudeen. Asmiya’s mother earns a living by assisting in the preparation of rice flour. Nasirudeen, her father, went missing during the 2017 Ockhi Cyclone and was never found. In 11th grade, Asmiya enrolled in Al Aman Educational Institution, a residential madrassa and ordinary school.
Contrary to a narrative peddled by few media houses, Asmiya’s family is not poor. She hails from a well to do family. Her father’s brother and his family are all settled in the Gulf, and he has been helping her with her monthly expenditures at the hostel.
Al Aman was not an orphanage where children are educated for free. Asmiya’s education was not free.
They were paying around ₹6,000 per month for her stay and studies according to reports.
Students were permitted to call their parents once a week. They allowed children to go home onky on special occasions or in case of an emergency.
According to the Balaramapuram police, Asmiya called her mother on Saturday afternoon, expressing her want to return home. She was inside the complex’s hostel when she called her mother to complain about being bullied by a teacher. Asmiya informed her mother that she was being harassed, though not sexually.
Her mother arrived at the Madrassa premises at 4:30 PM. She was, however, asked to get permission to meet with her daughter. Tragically, she learned at 6:30 PM that her daughter had been found hanging inside the library. Asmiya was transported to a private hospital in Neyyattinkara but was certified dead upon arrival at 7 PM.
Tajudeen, the girl’s uncle, was quoted saying in a report that Asmiya had gone home during Ramzan and told her mother about the mental harassment she had received from a new instructor at the Madrassa. “On May 2, she returned to the Madrassa and complained to her mother about the teacher once more. After the incident was reported to the Madrassa administration, the Ustad (teacher) questioned her mother about why Asmiya had not approached him directly with her complaints,” he stated.
The Balramapuram Police Department filed a FIR for unnatural death. “It was a distress call,” Firoz, Asmiya’s cousin brother was quoted saying in a report.
She was apparently not permitted to communicate with her friends. “The teacher was very strict and did not allow her to go home and meet her family members,” Firoz was quoted saying in Outlook.
But she really wanted to. Her mother and grandmother rushed to the hostel and arrived within a few hours after receiving the call, but the principal was not present. The teachers present refused to allow Amiya’s mother inside.
Asmiya’s mother was initially told that her daughter was in the restroom. A phone call to the principal was ineffective since he apparently spoke extremely brutally to them.
Instead, he grumbled about Asmiya, saying she “was very disobedient, and a lesson must be taught.”
“Asmiya’s mother and grandmother stormed in and searched her thoroughly.” They were unable to locate her in the lavatory. They eventually discovered her hanging inside the library room. They rushed her to the hospital, but she was gone,” Firoz notes in the report.
According to Firoz, it was the first time she had complained about harassment at the college. She had never complained about anything like this before.
A few have called this is an institutional murder and have demanded that the government create regulations to regulate such institutions.
“We lost our child, but we will fight to put an end to this type of harassment in religious institutions,” cousin Firoz was quoted saying in a report.
Not The First Case
Victims of archaic Islamic practices manifests in 2 ways – radicalisation and oppression of women. Both are true in the case of Kerala’s Madrassas.
In Kozhikkode, for example, a Madrassa preacher was arrested for sexually abusing a student. The incident took place in Edakkad. Shamseer from Kannur, the accused, has been remanded in custody. Shamseer is said to have vowed to kill the victim if the truth was revealed. Nonetheless, the youngster, who is from Muzhapilangad, told his parents. As a result, a paedophile, a Moulana, was apprehended. The investigation is being conducted based on the assumption that he has mistreated several additional youngsters.
Adbul Kareem, a teacher at a school in Vengara, Malappuram district, was detained for the second time for a POSCO violation. The complainant, a 13-year-old seventh-grade student, contacted the instructors, who notified the police. Several other students, over fifteen from the same school, came out to protest. They are in the sixth and seventh grades. The accused paedophile admitted during the interrogation that he had sexually abused several minor female classmates during class. He is the banned Popular Front of India’s (PFI) North District President.
In another example, a POCSO charge was filed against another teacher for attempting to molest a student during the Kollam district school arts festival. Since then, the accused, Yousuf, a native of Kadakkal, Kollam, has gone missing. The complainant said that the accused misbehaved with her on the bus as they travelled to the diner. The student told other teachers, and the matter was charged; police attempted to apprehend the suspected paedophile. Ibrahim (50), a madrassa ustad, was detained the next day on POCSO accusations.
A ‘child marriage case was reported from Kuttikatoor in Kozhikode. The groom was named the first accused, the girl’s parents, along with “clerics” who officiated at the wedding were charged.
Kerala’s madrassas are also a breeding ground for Islamic radicalization. An India Today investigation from 2018 had discovered disturbing evidence of what appears to be a covert penetration of ISIS ideology in the country.
These seminaries were discovered to be indoctrinating young impressionable minds with ISIS’s terrible objective of establishing a global caliphate through a global war, thanks to hawala money from petrodollar-rich Gulf countries.
Several madrasas in Kerala teach a theo-fascist version of Islam. “There is a problem if we discuss a caliphate in public. There are many Hindus in the area. When we talk about Khilafat (caliphate), Hindus call us ISIS men. As a result, we are not direct. We gradually instilled it in the hearts of the children,” admitted Mohammed Bashir, joint secretary of a madrasa managed by the Karuna Charitable Trust in Pullorammal, Kozhikode district.
In Kerala, India Today noticed an ominous manifestation of the same mindset in nondescript madrasas like Bashir’s. “The Caliphate is the foundation. It is the fundamental for children. Only then will a caliphate emerge,” he asserted.
“The foundation is essential. It exists in our hearts. We gradually share this with the youngsters. There is no need to haste. A caliphate does not emerge overnight.”, the moulana was quoted saying.
The preaching of extreme Islam is not limited to one centre in Kerala, according to India Today’s investigation.
Several other madrasas were working tirelessly to generate more guys like the infamous Islamic televangelist Zakir Naiks, who is now a convicted felon. Abdul Malik, who heads a madrasa in Karanthur, confessed that Naik videos were presented to young children at his centre on a regular basis.
“Everyone is aware of Zakir Naik’s identity. Zakir Naik is shown here welcoming females and other religious groups to Islam. Then they are seen in video clips accepting Islam,” said Malik, the head of Karanthur’s Islamic Centre.
Kerala may be known as God’s own country due its natural beauty but this natural beauty of Kerala will be made to witness the ugly face of Islamic radicalisation and oppression if the current trend is left unchecked.
(Anand Krishna is a Kerala-based lawyer and columnist.)
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