The JJ Marg police Monday arrested a 50-year-old imam accused of sexually assaulting a minor girl in Nagpada who regularly went to study in the madrasa where he taught. According to the police, Imam Abdullah Naji, who had fled after a complaint was registered against him last week, was booked under Section 373 of the Indian Penal Code (punishment for rape) and sections 4,6, 8 and 12 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) that relates to sexual crime committed against minors.
Police officers said a detailed medical examination conducted at the JJ hospital confirmed that the minor had been sexually assaulted.
Dr Preeti Lewis, gynaecologist at the hospital, said the eight-year-old was brought for examination on October 14. “She had a history of sexual assault. After examination, she was moved to the paediatric ward,” she said.
The girl is still under treatment at the hospital.
The incident reportedly happened on October 9 when the eight-year-old girl had gone to the madrasa at Shafi mosque in Chowki Mohalla. The classes are conducted in a room that is part of the Nagpada mosque.
She later told her parents about the alleged assault and the latter approached the JJ Marg police station on October 14 to register a complaint against Abdullah.
The minor’s family resides in Nagpada. Her mother is a homemaker and her father is a businessman. Soon after the complaint, said the police, the imam went absconding. He was arrested Monday morning.
Locals residing around Chowki Mohalla, meanwhile, expressed shock over the incident. Imam Abdullah had been teaching at the local mosque for over the last 35 years.
“There are two generations of families that have studied under him at the madrasa. For locals, it is hard to believe something like this is true. We still feel there should be a fair inquiry. We have known mothers who have studied under him and later their daughters who now study,” said social worker and local resident Saeed Khan.