A Muslim cleric was booked on Tuesday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in Kerala, police said. Shafeeq Al Qasimi, who was serving as the Imam of a rural mosque at Tholicode in Vithura, over 30 km away from Thiruvananthapuram, was removed after the incident came to light, they said.
A case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was registered against him based on the mosque committee’s statement. According to the statement, he had lured a 15-year-old girl to an isolated forest area in Vithura and allegedly sexually assaulted her last week.
The incident came to light after a group of local women confronted the cleric after seeing him with the school-going girl in the forest. “An FIR was registered as per the statement of the mosque committee,” a police official said, adding that the victim or her family was yet to file a formal complaint.
Following the allegations, the Mosque authorities and the Centre for Film Gender and Culture Studies launched separate probes in the matter. Meanwhile, in a 15-minute audio accessed, the president of the mosque named Bhadusha, was heard confirming the Imam’s involvement in the abuse.
In the audio clip, as claimed by a NewsMinute report, Badusha was heard saying, the Imam mentioned that he was his wife. Badhusha also mentioned that where the assault happened, the accused Imam had been spotted there earlier as well.
However, despite the incident happened over a week ago, there has been no police complaint against the Imam. although, the victim and her family do not want to inform the police or give any statements to the police.
Qasimi was removed as Imam of the mosque after the issue surfaced, police added.