Two boys escape madrassah, report brutal beatings

Rehman and Moeen told police they had been chained and locked up for weeks.


Express May 22, 2011

JHANG:


Two boys who were held at Madrassah Sheikh Lahori in Jhang fled and reached the police on Friday. The boys told the police that they were being forcibly held at the madrassah and had been brutally beaten by the Qari.


According to police officials, Mohallah Budhey Wala resident Abdul Rehman, 14, and Mohallah Bhubrana resident Abdul Moeen, 15, escaped from a local seminary after they sawed through the grill on their window. “The qari knew that we didn’t want to be there so he would lock our rooms from the outside every night. It was an awful place and we had tried running away several times before but they caught us,” said Moeen. On Thursday, the boys provided a key of madrassah gate to a former student asking him to help them flee the madrassah. At 3am on Friday, madrassah student Usman Shah came on a motorcycle and helped Abdul Rehman and Mohallah Bhubrana escape. “

The three boys reached near Abbott Chowk where they were stopped by Muhafiz Squad official Zafar Abbas. Usman fled from the scene and the official brought the other two boys to the police station where they told reporters that they were being mistreated.  “The boys said that they had been chained and upon investigation at the madrassah we have discovered the room they were being kept in. They were locked up and chained to the wall for months on end,” said Muhafiz Squad official Zafar Abbas .

Police officials said that the two boys had been severely beaten and their bodies bore marks of abuse. “They were not there by choice and they ran away the moment they got the chance,” said SP Farooq Dil. Dil said that police officials had already arrested the Qari at the seminary, Abdullah Hakeem. Police officials said the children were being forcibly kept in the madrassah for the past four years. “One night my parents just dropped me there while I was asleep. When I woke up I was in the madrassah,” said Rehman.

The boys said that they were told by the Qari that they would only be allowed out of the seminary once they had completely memorised the Holy Quran. The police raided the madrassah on Friday morning and arrested teacher Qari Abdullah.  Police officials said that there were several reports that students had been tortured at the madrassah and they were investigating the matter further. “Apparently several students have tried escaping from here and Rehman and Moeen have shown us an underground cellar where students were beaten and chained up,” Dil said. Police have registered an FIR under Section 430 against the administration of the madrassah.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2011.

COMMENTS (1)

Mirza | 10 years ago | Reply When would Pakistan's powerful establishment stop supporting these child molesters, rapists, extremists and murderers? Pakistan army and ISI knows about all these but mullah/military alliance is their secret weapon against minorities, secular leaders, women and children. Mullahs and their right wing allies are ruthlessly used against all voices that are raised against this injustices.
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