June 3, 2019

A Madrassa teacher from Kerala who is believed to have sexually abused several children over a period of many years has finally been arrested by the police.

The 63-year-old has been identified as Yusuf, a Madrassa teacher hailing from Aluva who was employed at a local mosque in Kottayam.

For the last two years, Yusuf was teaching at a mosque in Thalayolaparambu where he sexually abused several of his students, police say.

“The Chief Imam of the mosque would not visit the Madrassa for three days a week. This is when Yusuf would pick his victims, take them to a private room and abuse them,” Soofi TM, Sub Inspector of Thalayolaparambu station told TNM. The accused would carefully choose victims of 10-years of age or below, to ensure his crimes were never reported.

“Since children that young are naive and are unlikely to understand what sexual abuse is, he relied on this,” Soofi added.

The accused also earned the confidence of local residents by holding long prayers and speeches to avoid suspicions. He later convinced the mosque authorities to set aside a private room for him, where he would go on to abuse most of his victims.

“He would lure children, especially girls, by promising them sweets and nicknacks and taking them to the room. Here he would abuse them,” Soofi added.

How Yusuf was exposed

Yusuf’s predations came to light 2 weeks ago, when he abused a young boy by promising to teach him the Holy Quran in his private room. The visibly disturbed boy returned home and disclosed the incident to his parents when they questioned him, noticing a difference in his behaviour.

The family immediately complained to the mosque authorities who fired the accused and then filed a complaint with the local police police.

The accused used this opportunity to flee from the place. Instead of returning to his native place of Aluva, he visited mosques and addressed gatherings in Thrissur and Palakkad during the month of Ramzan.

The Thalayolaparambu police finally nabbed him from Kodungallur on May 27th, as he was getting ready to address a mosque gathering.

The exact number of children Yusuf abused remains unconfirmed. The police have got in touch with the Mosque authorities to see if more students would speak up.

Accused was a victim of child sexual abuse

While this is no way excuses what he did, it does go to show that the abuse of children can lead to the victims themselves becoming abusers.

Following his arrest, Yusuf claimed that he too was a victim of child sexual abuse.

Yusuf told the police that his first victim, a girl, was the daughter of a man who had sexually abused him and that he’d committed the crime as an act of revenge.

He told us that he continued to abuse young children after this and did not stop as he was never caught. We believe he may have abused at least 19 children and we are yet to probe the case deeper,” a police officer said.