A cleric tortured a seven-year-old student for not memorising his lessons properly.
According to residents of Vehari’s Ghara Mor village, a local prayer leader tortured a seven-year-old student for forgetting the words to a surah.
Busti Sheikhan Wali resident Muhammad Mumtaz’s son Muhammad Adnan, 7, was memorising the Quran at a mosque. On Friday, several of Adnan’s class mates said that he kept forgetting one verse of a surah and cleric Muhammad Latif beat him with a stick. “He then hung the boy upside down from a tree and beat him while screaming at him to recite the verses properly,” said Mansoor Shah, who was also present at the mosque.
“We protested to have the child freed but by the time he was taken to a hospital he had fainted from the pain,” he added.
Adnan’s father was informed of the incident and came to the Vehari DHQ hospital, where doctors told him that Adnan’s leg was broken. “The boy has suffered severe bruises and some internal injuries. His left leg has been broken and we cannot re-set the bones,” said Dr Altaf Momin.
Students at the seminary said that Latif had begun kicking Adnan and when he begged for water after being hung by the tree, he was refused. “He was hanging from the tree for over an hour. Every few minutes Latif asked him to recite the verses and when he got them wrong he was beaten,” said a student. “He kept asking for water but he was refused. Later he fainted and some men helped him down and took him to a hospital,” he told Adnan’s father.
“He beat my son to a pulp and I expected this man to teach my son about Islam!” Muhammad Mumtaz said. “The students said he was hitting my son because he had forgotten verses even while he was fasting. Latif was torturing him, what of that?” Mumtaz told reporters.
Mumtaz approached police officials to file a case on his son’s behalf. “We have sought a medical report regarding the boy’s condition. If torture is proven we will arrest Latif,” said a Vehari police official.
“How can the police not register a case? My son’s leg is broken, what more proof do they need,” Mumtaz told reporters.
“We have already issued a medical certificate but the police do not want to arrest Latif. They took him in for questioning but released him after an hour,” said Dr Momin.
“We arrested Latif for questioning but he said he had only hit the boy a couple of times.
He said that this was the only way the children would learn but that he had not broken Adnan’s leg,” the police official said.
“We have released him until further evidence,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2011.