Days after a Kerala-based journalist raised her voice against alleged child abuse at a Madrasa some two decades ago, Malayalam film director Ali Akbar has claimed that he too was sexually exploited by one ustad (teacher) several years ago.
Akbar revealed that he was sexually abused by an ustad when he studied in Class 4 at a Madrasa in Wayanad District.
Akbar said that the Madrasa he studied in was run by Kerala Sunni leader Kanthapuram Aboobacker Musaliyar, who triggered a controversy on Saturday by reportedly saying that Muslim women are "fit only to deliver children".
He said that he will give details of the sexual abuse to Musaliyar, who had refuted journalist VP Rajeena's allegations and said that Madrasas are safe.
"That madrasa was run by Kanthapuram Musliyar. If Musliyar is willing to look into the issue, I am ready to give details of the ustad,'' The Indian Express quoted Akbar as saying.
He added that the assault took place in 1970s, after which he stopped going to that Madrasa. "That incident of abuse...in early 1970s haunted me for several years. Hence, I decided against sending my children to madrasa,'' Akbar said.
Speaking further on the sexual exploitation at the Mardarassa, Akbar said that many students had begun abusing their classmates after assaults by ustads. "After the experience from ustads, many students start abusing their classmates... Ustads create curiosity about sex in their class on whudu (ablution). After that, it is easy to trap children," he said.
The film maker alleged that other students were also victims of sexual exploitation at the Madrasa but they are not willing to speak out due to fear.
"Sexual exploitation of children in madrasas is still going on. But, nobody is ready to speak out against it out of fear. When leaders like Kanthapuram Musliyar are heading the madrasa education system in Kerala, who would dare to complaint against an ustad," Akbar said.
The women journalist, VP Rajeena, who was the first to make the revelations in a Facebook post faced backlash from the community, and so too Akbar. A Lucknow-based Muslim cleric on Monday refuted Akbar's allegation, saying that its a conspiracy to malign Islamic institutions.
"I simply dismiss the allegation of the Malayalam film director. I see it as a conspiracy to malign the image of the Islamic institutions because one must keep in mind that at this Islamic institution, emphasis is laid on discipline and moral education. I think this is a conspiracy to affect the positive image of these Madrasas," Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali told ANI.
"I strongly want to say that there is no sexual abuse in any Madrasa throughout India," he added.