In a shocking revelation, three Maulvis were apprehended by the Kerala Police on November 18, 2023, in connection with the sexual assault of minor children. The arrests were made at a madrassa located in Nedumangadu municipality, Thiruvananthapuram District. Notably, one of the accused hails from Uttar Pradesh.
This disturbing incident adds to the growing list of reported crimes within madrasas in the state of Kerala. The compiled report highlights a staggering twenty-five cases, emphasising the unsettling trend of such heinous crimes within these religious educational institutions.
In the recent case, the three accused individuals were charged with sexually assaulting minor students, marking a deeply troubling pattern of child exploitation within madrasas. This incident is not isolated, as similar cases have been reported previously.
The compiled report sheds light on the alarming situation, documenting twenty-five cases of child sexual abuse reported in Kerala over the span of the past few years. The authorities are now faced with the challenge of addressing this pressing issue and ensuring the safety of children attending madrasas in the region.
Here is the list of cases:
In December 2012, a madrasa teacher named VT Ayyoob, also known as Ayyoob Sakhafi (28) from Moorkkanad near Kulathoor, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually assaulting a minor. The judges imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on him. Ayyoob was found guilty of luring the girl into his room at the madrasa, where he raped and sodomised her. He also attempted to destroy evidence, leading to a two-year sentence for that charge. The victim, threatened with dire consequences, fainted upon returning home. When questioned by her parents, she tearfully revealed the entire ordeal. A case was promptly registered, leading to Ayyoob’s arrest.
In March 2017, police arrested a 27-year-old madrasa tutor named Muhammed Rafi in Iritty, Kannur, for sexually abusing four minor girls. Hailing from Tharuvana in Wayanad, Rafi faced charges under sections of the POCSO Act. The arrest followed an FIR filed by one of the victim’s mothers.
In June 2019, a 63-year-old madrasa teacher named Yusuf was apprehended in Kerala’s Kottayam district on charges of sexually harassing numerous minors. The Thalayolaparambu police arrested Yusuf in Kodungalloor following a complaint from the Mahallu committee, the executive body of the Mosque. Yusuf, upon arrest, admitted to engaging in child rape since the age of 25 and disclosed that he himself had been a victim of sexual assault during his childhood. Shockingly, he claimed to have sought “revenge” on his assailant by raping the individual’s daughter, expressing confidence in evading capture due to children’s limited understanding of sexual exploitation and its legal consequences.
In July 2020, the Nileshwar police in the Kasaragod district of Kerala detained a 50-year-old madrasa teacher accused of repeatedly sexually abusing his 16-year-old daughter over a span of two years. Additionally, six others in their early twenties faced charges under the POCSO act for sexually abusing the girl. The police arrested three of the accused—Riyas (19), Ijaz (20), and Mohammed Ali (20). The victim, in her statement, alleged that her father had been molesting and raping her for three years. In 2021, a Kerala court sentenced a father to life imprisonment for raping and impregnating his daughter. When the daughter disclosed the abuse to her mother, they received death threats. The incident occurred during the Covid lockdown in 2021 while the victim was engaged in online classes. In the absence of others at home, the accused father, who was a teacher in a madrasa, sexually assaulted the minor. In November 2021, the victim experienced sudden stomach pain and was taken to the hospital. However, the nature of the situation remained unknown. In January 2022, she was once again hospitalised for stomach pain, and during this visit, she revealed her traumatic experience of rape. Subsequent investigations confirmed that the minor was pregnant.
In May 2022, a case of sexual assault on a minor boy was reported in Malappuram. Four prominent Islamists, including an Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader, a madrassa president, and a middleman, were arrested in connection with the incident involving a 14-year-old boy. The assault occurred in Karinkallathani near Perinthalmanna on the Malappuram Palakkad border. The Manjeri police registered a case and apprehended Koloth Najeeb, Kozhikattil Abubakar, Pakath Jaleel, and Kozhippen Ashraf. Jaleel, a local IUML leader, works as an expatriate in Gulf countries, collecting donations for religious institutions. Najeeb is the president of the Karinkallathani madrassa, and Ashraf served as the middleman who introduced the young boy to the other accused. Reports indicate that the minor boy endured brutal sexual assault over an extended period, with Ashraf being the primary perpetrator. Ashraf allegedly charged exorbitant amounts from clients for facilitating the rape of young boys. The full extent of the number of children groomed, raped, and traded by Ashraf remains unknown. The incident came to light after the minor boy shared the details of the rape with friends.
In February 2022, another case surfaced, exposing a madrasa teacher’s sexual assault on a girl attending religious studies. The accused, identified as Akbar Shah (48) of Thazhuthala Mailapur Punnalavila house, served as a teacher in the Mailapur Muslim Jama’at mosque. The abuse had persisted since 2017, starting from the girl’s UKG school days, taking place in the classroom on the first floor of the madrasa building. The victim confided in her mother on November 21, 2021, leading to a complaint filed at the Kottiyam police station and subsequent arrests.
In July 2022, the Perumbavoor fast-track court handed a 20-year rigorous imprisonment sentence to a madrassa teacher, Aliyar Idayaalil, aged 55, from Nellikuzhi. Found guilty under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the IPC, and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, Aliyar had sexually assaulted an 11-year-old boy who was a student at the madrassa. The prosecution revealed that the accused had compelled the survivor to watch pornography and subjected him to repeated sexual harassment. The survivor eventually disclosed the abuse to his classmates, leading to his parents’ awareness. They subsequently filed a police complaint, resulting in the arrest of the accused.
In November 2022, a madrassa cleric, Shamseer, was arrested in Kozhikode for sexually assaulting a minor student in Edakkad. A native of Kannur, Shamseer had threatened to harm the minor if the incident was revealed. However, the courageous victim confided in his parents about the assault, leading to Shamseer’s arrest based on the child’s complaint. Police suspect additional instances of abuse, and an ongoing investigation is in progress.
Additionally, Abdul Kareem, a teacher from Vengara school in the Malappuram district, was arrested for a POCSO offense. Detained based on a 13-year-old student’s complaint, Abdul Kareem confessed during the investigation to sexually abusing several underage female students in the classroom. The accused, who was also the Malappuram North District President of the now-banned Popular Front of India (PFI), faced allegations from more than 15 students in the sixth and seventh grades.
In December 2022, the Pattambi POCSO fast-track court delivered a verdict in a child molestation case, sentencing Abdul Hakkim, a resident of Kuruvambalam in Malappuram district, to 62 years of rigorous imprisonment along with a Rs. 3 lakh fine. The court ruled that the fine should be handed over to the family of the victim, a girl who had been sexually assaulted by the Madrassa teacher in 2009.
In July 2022, a madrasa teacher in Kerala’s Ernakulam district received a 67-year sentence for sexually assaulting a minor boy on January 19, 2020, in Perumbavoor town. The Perumbavoor Fast Track Court penalized the accused, identified as Aliyaar from Nellikuzhi town in Ernakulam district, for molesting an 11-year-old boy who was his student at the religious institution. The court, in its judgment, emphasised the responsibility of individuals in higher positions within educational institutions and condemned such unacceptable acts. The accused had reportedly assaulted the boy multiple times in a room at the madrasa and had exposed the child to adult videos on his phone.
In 2022, another madrasa teacher, Abdul Hakeem from Kuruvambalam in Malappuram, was sentenced to 60 years in jail and fined Rs 3 lakh for sexually assaulting a six-year-old girl. The Pattambi POCSO court handed down 20 years of rigorous imprisonment for each of the three sections under which he was convicted. The incident occurred in 2019, leading to the police registering a case under the POCSO Act following a complaint that the accused had sexually assaulted the young girl at a madrasa.
In September 2022, the Vellangallur police in Thrissur district apprehended a Madrassa ustad named Thoyib Farhan (22) for attempting to sexually assault a nine-year-old girl inside the madrassa toilet. A case was registered following a complaint by the victim’s parents, prompted by the girl’s disclosure of the incident. Farhan faced charges under the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Local police indicated that he had victimised several children. Despite initiating a ‘detailed investigation,’ the police did not release his images.
In April 2022, News 18 reported that Varkala police arrested Rafi (43), the son of Abdul Salam, for molesting a 14-year-old girl. The victim, alone at home, provided drinking water to Rafi, who then dragged her inside and sexually assaulted her. The child’s parents, daily wage laborers, were acquainted with Rafi, who worked with the victim’s father. Exploiting the victim’s vulnerability, Rafi molested the child when her parents were away. The accused was produced in court and remanded.
In November 2022, Devdiscourse highlighted the detention of a teacher from Chadayamangalam in the Kollam district under the POCSO Act for molesting one of his female students during the school arts festival. The accused, Yousuf, fled after the minor filed a complaint. The police registered a case and initiated an ongoing investigation to locate the offender. Meanwhile, Pazhoor Irattakandiyil Ashkar, alias Sudeendran (43), was arrested by Mavoor police after raping a six-year-old girl in Kozhikode. The accused was remanded for 14 days, and the details of the heinous attack were not fully disclosed by the media but were reported on December 6.
In December 2022, Kerala Kaumudi reported that the Kozhikode police filed a case against four youths accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a minor boy. The Kozhikode town police registered the case under the POCSO Act against Aziz, Uwaiz, and Abbas, following a complaint lodged on behalf of a 15-year-old boy. The incident took place on October 27, and while Kerala police identified three of the accused, another individual involved remains unidentified and at large. According to the police, the perpetrators abducted the boy from Malappuram, transported him to Kunnamangalam in Kozhikode, and subjected him to sexual assault. The missing accused is yet to be identified or apprehended.
In December 2022, Media Mangalam documented the arrest of a middle-aged man in Kozhikode for sodomizing a minor boy. Ahnas, a resident of Wayanad Muthanga, was apprehended by the town police. The victim, having left home and reached the Kozhikode public transport bus stand, was lured by the accused with promises of a job. Ahnas then took the child to various lodges in the city and committed the crime. The accused was arrested by Town Inspector MV Biju, and the court subsequently remanded him.
In the same month, a fast track court in Kerala’s Kannur district sentenced a madrassa teacher, K V Mohammed Rafi, to 26 years in prison under various sections of the POCSO Act for sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl student. Thaliparamba POCSO court judge C Mujeeb Rahman also imposed a fine of Rs 75,000 on the 36-year-old convict from Udayagiri in Alakkode. The teacher, who worked at a madrassa in Valapattanam, committed the offenses by repeatedly assaulting a Class V student in October 2017.
In January 2023, Mohammed, a resident of Koduvalli in Kozhikode, was arrested by Thalassery police. The arrest followed a complaint lodged by the child’s relatives, and the case is being pursued under the POCSO section.
Also in January 2023, Faizal, a 52-year-old teacher at a higher secondary school in Taliparamba, Kannur district, was apprehended by the police on charges of sexually assaulting students. Five cases were registered based on statements from students in classes 6 and 7. The girl students shared their traumatic experiences during a regular counselling sessions at the school. Following their revelations, the counsellor sought police assistance, leading to the registration of cases under the POCSO Act. The police are investigating whether the school administration promptly sought help from law enforcement, and there is no indication of negligence on the part of the school administration.
In January 2023, Cholai Nadir (26), a native of Malappuram district in Kerala, was arrested for attempting to molest someone while pretending to be close to her. The accused was presented before the magistrate and subsequently remanded.
Moving to February 2023, another disturbing case of incest involving a madrassa teacher surfaced in Vazhikkadavu village, Nilambur taluk, Malappuram district, Kerala. The POCSO Court sentenced the accused to three life imprisonments and imposed a fine of Rs. 6.60 lakhs. He is slated to remain in jail for the remainder of his natural life. The appalling incident originated in March 2021 when the victim’s mother was allegedly absent. At that time, the 14-year-old victim, attending online classes due to Covid-19, was forcibly taken from her room and sexually assaulted by the former madrassa instructor.
In August 2021, Hindu Post detailed a Manjeri court’s ruling, sentencing a 55-year-old madrassa teacher to double life imprisonment for repeatedly raping two of his minor daughters. The concurrent jail terms ensure he remains incarcerated until his death. The victims, aged 15 and 17, confided in their mother, but the madrassa teacher threatened them with death. The accused, a father of eight children, would exploit quarrels with their mother as a pretext to rape his daughters at night. His eldest daughter and wife were both pregnant with his children when he assaulted his younger daughter, highlighting the disturbing prevalence of such atrocities against children in Malappuram.
In 2023, Perinthalmanna Fast Track Special Court Judge Anil Kumar convicted Muhammed Shareef, also known as Usman Shareef (53), from Oothakkattil in Pulamanthol Valapuram Angadiparam. He received a 16-year rigorous imprisonment sentence and a Rs 70,000 fine for abducting and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in 2019. Inspector Madhu handled the investigation at Kolathur police station, filing the charge sheet. Special Public Prosecutor Adv. Sapna P Parameshwara represented the prosecution, with Senior Civil Police Officer Soujath from Perinthalmanna police station assisting. The accused will be transferred to Kannur Central Jail.
In August 2023, police arrested Muhammad Ajamal Himami Sakhafi from Mundithadka in Kasargod district based on a complaint. The incident allegedly occurred when a child, who had come to pray at the mosque, was reportedly assaulted in a room adjacent to the madrasa.
A recent case in Kerala involved the arrest of three madrasa teachers on charges of sexually assaulting minor students near Nedumangadu. One of the accused hailed from Uttar Pradesh, and the arrests were made following complaints received by the police and the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) from concerned parents.