Chained up at madrassa, for rehabilitation? | Pakistan Today

Chained up at madrassa, for rehabilitation?

Chained up and battered, students rescued from a madrassa in Sohrab Goth may have suffered a lot during their detention, but their parents have not lodged any complaints with the police against the seminary’s administration, insisting that they had sent their children to the madrassa for rehabilitation.
Talking with Pakistan Today, Gulshan-e-Maymar SHO Ahsanullah Marwat said that more than 35 families have contacted the police and recorded their statements.
“The families of the children recovered are contacting us and we have handed over several of them to their heirs,” he said. “The family members have also recorded their statements at the police station but did not lodge any complaints against the [madressa] administration.”
“Some of the family members told us that they had admitted their children to the seminary because they had become drug addicts,” Marwat said.
The police had rescued 53 students, including children as young as seven, who had been chained up in the basement of a madrassa in the Sohrab Goth area.
Former students including an eight-year-old said they were regularly beaten at the school, which was equipped with chains, hooks and a warren of basement rooms.
The head of an education federation had termed the seminary a “torture cell”.
According to the police, among those found during the raid on the self-styled madrassa, 21 were teenagers.
“Two children aged seven and another aged about eight were among those rescued,” Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Karachi Naeem Akram said.
Police said the students were chained up because they were drug addicts whom the madrassa “wanted to rehabilitate”, but many details remain unclear.
The three-storey building was isolated from the city’s congested and densely populated areas, meaning there were no neighbours who could corroborate the details of the police raid or the conditions inside.
The students and their relatives indicated that the impoverished families believed the madrassa could offer treatment to drug addicts and a religious education to the young boys.
Seventeen-year-old Azmatullah said his father had sent him to the seminary because he suffered fits and became violent. “My father took me to several spiritual healers who said I was a victim of black magic,” he said. “[But] three months ago I was sent here.”
“My father pays Rs 3,000 per month as fees to the madrassa to make me a normal person but I still suffer from fits,” Azmatullah said. “Despite that they kept me chained up and used to beat me with sticks ruthlessly.”
Mohammad Ashraf said he had sent his eight-year-old son Mushtaq Ahmed to the madrassa believing he would receive religious education. “I didn’t know the [madrassa] management would beat him so mercilessly,” he said. “I will no longer keep my son in this madrassa.”
His son, Mushraq, said the teachers beat the students daily. “I don’t know why they kept young children with adults,” he speculated.
Terming it a “complex situation”, police officer Akram Khan said there would be “no clear picture until the police collect all the evidences”.
He said the relatives of elder students say they had sent them for rehabilitation from drug addiction, while the younger children’s relatives say they were sent here for religious studies.
“My brother was addicted to sniffing Samad Bond. We failed to rid him of the addiction, so we contacted the madrassa’s administration and got my brother admitted,” said Hijrat Khan, the brother of one of recovered students. “We also permitted the administration to use any method to make my brother stop using drugs,” he added.
Meanwhile, police have lodged an FIR against the four administrators of the madrassa.
SP Rao Anwar said there were more than 50 students who were kept in the basement and the students were tortured by the administration.
He said the recovered people, aged between 12 and 50, were mainly of Pashtun ethnicity. A few drug addicts and mentally disabled people were also among those who were recovered, he added.
Police have lodged FIR No 273/2011 under Sections 342, 344, 506-B and 337-1/34 against Mufti Dawood, Qari Abdullah, Qari Qudratullah and Qari Fakhruddin at the Gulshan-e-Maymar police station. All the administrators included in the FIR are absconders, whereas only Qari Muhammad Usman has been arrested from the spot.
The arrested administrator said: “We were imparting religious education to the students, obtaining fee from only those students who are able to pay.”
Usman denied torturing the students or having any knowledge about it. He said only the mufti knew why those people were being kept in captivity, adding that the parents had voluntarily left their children and relatives to rid them of “evil spirits”.
Usman admitted that the administration had bound the students. “We had told the parents that the students must be tied up to rid them of drugs. The parents will corroborate my statement,” he said.
“Only drug addicts and mentally-ill students were tied up because they were used to creating disturbance and problems in the madrassa,” Usman said. “We were taking Rs 6,000 as fee from the parents of those students.”
SP Anwar said: “Usman belongs to Battagram district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and had arrived in Karachi only two months ago. We recovered a bunch of keys from his possession that included one that led us to the basement.”
Police had arrested Usman along with two watchmen from the scene.



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5 Comments

  1. rk NY said:

    drugs plus islam plus pakistan…..EXPLOSION !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Birgit Broekhoven said:

    A photo of one of the small boys is published in a Dutch newspaper today. The boy is crying and completely traumatized. I am totally upset by reading the article and looking at the photo. I wish I could do something to stop insane institutions like these Pakistani madrasses. It makes me sick.

  3. مولانا پیر فقیر said:

    بہت ساری باتیں واضح نہیں ہیں اسلام کو بد نام کرنے کیلیٗے لوگ قسم قسم کے ہتھکنڈے کر رہے ہیں جس میں منافق قسم کے مولوی سیاست دان اور میڈیا شامل ہے

  4. Indian Pathan said:

    It is very sad to see that great nation like pathans are in news these days for all the wrong reasons
    may Allah help this nation

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