Child Helpline found that the girl, a minor, was mentally depressed

Abdul Kareem, a madrasa teacher in Boliyar, 10 km from Mangalore, was arrested on the charge of sexual assault of a seven-year-old girl on Sunday morning.

The incident came to light only after a call was made to the Child Helpline on Saturday. On further inquiry, the Child Helpline personnel found that the girl was mentally depressed following incidents of harassment ever since the end of Ramzan.

The girl and her friends first approached the headmistress of the government school the girl attends a few days ago, and spilled the beans about the sexual assault. The headmistress then informed the girl’s mother. The child’s mother approached the madrasa committee with a complaint. The compliant triggered a dispute between two factions in the madrasa as the mother’s relative was a member of one faction. The madrasa put pressure on the girls’ parents to withdraw the complaint against the teacher.

Meanwhile, one of the girl’s relatives contacted the Child Helpline and its personnel sought the intervention of the Child Welfare Committee, which counselled both mother and daughter. The parents then filed a complaint with the police.

When contacted, Mangalore Police Commissioner Manish Kharbikar said: “We have registered a case and have taken the teacher into custody.” The police produced Kareem before the jurisdictional magistrate on Sunday evening.

‘A conspiracy’

Following the arrest, several residents of Boliyar, including members of the Boliyar madrasa committee, went to the police station on Sunday and protested against the arrest. Mohammed Yusuf, secretary of the madrasa committee, said Kareem was a victim of a conspiracy allegedly hatched by a faction that was opposed to him.