Mumbai Maulvi gets 20-year jail for raping minor, court says- 'Teacher is expected to act as protector'
A teacher is expected to act as a protector, a special court here observed while convicting a maulana of sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl who used to go to his house to study the Quran in Arabic. Special judge Seema Jadhav, designated to hear cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, on October 20, convicted the accused and sentenced him to 20 years in jail. The court also refused to accept the contention of the accused that he was falsely implicated in the case due to religious enmity. The accused was found guilty under section 376 AB (sexual assault on a girl below 12 years of age) of the Indian Penal Code and section 6 (penetrative sexual assault) of the POCSO Act. "The victim was a child of eight years. The accused was not a layman, but a teacher. The only career that influences other professions is teaching. It has the power to influence young people's future for the benefit of future generations," the court said in its order.
"The teacher is expected to act as a protector. Such heinous acts by the accused would cast a lifelong psychological and emotional impact on the victim. He (accused) has preyed on a child of a tender age of eight years and left a permanent scar on her life," it observed. The court further stated that the crime had been committed by the accused when the child had just started to understand and live her life. "Crimes like this, by a person of trust, change the perception of a child to look forward towards life in a positive way. Therefore, the accused deserves no leniency," it said.
The court in it judgment referred to a quote of Nobel Peace laureate Kofi Annan stating, "Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation, and it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace." As per the complaint, the victim's family and the accused lived in the same building in suburban Kurla. The victim used to go to the accused's house everyday to study the Quran in Arabic.
On May 6, 2019, when the victim had gone for her classes, the accused sexually assaulted her and threatened her with dire consequences if she spoke to anyone about it. The girl returned home and later told her mother about the assault, following which a case was registered against the accused. The accused had claimed that it was a false case filed by the victim's family due to religious enmity, as they belong to the Sunni sect while he belongs to the Deobandi sect. He further alleged that the victim and her family members were illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The court, however, refused to accept these arguments and noted that the victim was born in West Bengal.
"The informant (victim's mother) as well as the accused belongs to the Muslim community. Even though they follow different sects...it is of the main Muslim religion and therefore, the ground of communal dispute seems to be improbable," the court said. "Moreover, no mother would use her child that too female and put her integrity, character and future at stake by making such false allegations," it stated. "A conviction can be based on the basis of a child witness. A child is often a witness of truth, on account of his or her innocence and in capacity for partisan motivation. A child is always receptive to abnormal events," the court said.