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Madrassah Claimed Gang-rape Roils India

Published: 12/08/2014 03:47:52 PM GMT
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UTTAR PRADESH – Meerut district in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is under the grip of communal tension, over the alleged religious conversion and gang-rape of a Hindu teacher in a Madrassah, a crime denied by Muslim leaders who demanded a full investigation. Such incidents tarnish the image of Madrassahs. We are not sure what exa...(more)

UTTAR PRADESH – Meerut district in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is under the grip of communal tension, over the alleged religious conversion and gang-rape of a Hindu teacher in a Madrassah, a crime denied by Muslim leaders who demanded a full investigation.

"Such incidents tarnish the image of Madrassahs. We are not sure what exactly happened there,” Ittehad-e-Millat Council, chief Tauqeer Raza, told OnIslam.net.

“We want the government to investigate the matter so that those responsible should be punished.”

The district caught communal fight after a 20-year-old woman, who taught English and Hindi at a Madrassah at Sarawa village in Kharkhauda area of Meerut district, alleged that a group of Muslim men had abducted, gang-raped and forced her to convert to Islam.

After the incident came to light, Muslims living in the village fled fearing reprisals from Hindu organizations.

A nearby town of Saharanpur saw communal clashes last month between Muslims and Sikhs, which killed three. Curfew was also imposed in the town.

The issue rocked the Indian Parliament with the members of far-right Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanding a probe into the issue by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s premier investigation agency.

After the matter was raised in the Parliament, the Union government demanded a report on the issue from the state government. The matter is being probed by the state police and, so far, hasn’t been handed over to the CBI.

The First Information Report (FIR) was filed in the case at Kharkhauda police station in which four people were named as accused.

The police have already arrested three of them, with the main accused Sanaullah isstill at large. Sanaullah is a scholar at the Madrassah in Sarawa village of Meerut, where the victim girl was a teacher.

Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Amrendra Singh Sengar told Onislam.net, “We have already arrested three of the accused persons and formed a team to nab the main accused.”

Though the victim claimed that she was forced to revert to Islam, police officials confirmed that the whole incident was still under investigation.

“There is no evidence of forced conversion. We are still investigating the matter further,” senior superintendent of police Omkar Singh told OnIslam.net.

Following days of unrest in the district, the teacher changed her statement in the court, saying that she had eloped with her boy friend Mukeem Ahmad  and was not abducted.

The police said that they could not find any evidence against the accused who were declared innocent.

Tarnishing Image

Despite Muslim denials, various Hindu organizations have come together to protest against the alleged conversion and gang-rape of the girl.

The Hindu organizations have warned that they may organize a Hindu Mahapanchayat (gathering) if the police fail to arrest the main culprit and take action against those responsible. They alleged that the main accused is getting protection from the ruling Samajwadi Party government in the state.

The Uttar Pradesh is currently being ruled by the Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh Yadav is the Chief Minister of the state.

However, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has assured that strict action will be taken against the culprits of the gang-rape case.

The girl belongs to the influential Tyagi community of the area.

Head of another hard core Hindu organization, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), alleged that human trafficking racket could be behind this incident. He demanded strict action against those Madrassahs involved in such activities.

"It is feared that the Madrassah (in Hapur) where the victim was taken was engaged in human trafficking," VHP International Working President Pravin Togadia said in a statement.

“I fear many other girls might have been sexually exploited, converted to Islam and sent to Gulf countries. This is tantamount to illegal sex trade and human trafficking.”

Targeting Islamic madrassah’s in their rhetoric, Hindu activists were accused of trying to tarnish the image of Islamic education in India and spark communal tensions.

"The matter has to be investigated. It is an effort to target Madrassahs all over the state,” Muslim leader Shamsul Hasan told OnIslam.net.

“It is nothing but politics so that Muslims should remain under constant fear of being attacked.”

Another Muslim scholar of Uttar Pradesh, who did not wish to be named, said, " I think it is a conspiracy against Muslims and nothing else.  They just want to target the community and Madrassahs.

“How can she be raped inside the Madrassah and forced to convert in a country like India,” he exclaimed.

There are some 140 million Muslims in Hindu-majority India, the world's third-largest Muslim population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.

Nearly 17 percent of the students and 11 percent of the teachers in these Islamic schools are non-Muslims.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here

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