On February 4, three children studying at a madarsa in Machhli Mohalla in Bharatpur, Rajasthan fled after being subjected to merciless beatings over a prolonged period of time. The children were aged 12, 13 and 14.
The cops found the children under suspicious circumstances wandering in Shastri Park on the Jaipur- Agra highway. One child had chains tied to his feet. Preliminary investigation has revealed that the mother of the child had insisted on the Maulvi to do so, allegedly to prevent the child from escaping.
The madrasa is recognised by the Waqf Board and has residential facilities. Reportedly, the escaped children did not want to study at the Islamic institute and were interested to go to a government-run school.
After the incident came to light, the Bharatpur district administration has sent the three children to a Juvenile Correctional Home. Also, the Deputy Director of the Social Welfare Department has been ordered to investigate the matter.
Maulvi Yusuf, however, denied the allegations of physical assault but conceded that the children were chained to prevent them from running from the Madrassa. The police had also ordered the institute to hand over the keys to unlock the chain.
This is not the first incident when children escaped from a madrasa. A similar case came to light in Bhopal in September last year. Two children aged 7 and 10 were freed from torture. The cops had to use a gas cutter to unlock the chain that was strapped around the 10-year-old victim.
It is important to highlight that a large section of Muslim society prefers orthodox Islamic education over modern mainstream education that is provided absolutely free of cost in government-run schools. As a result, such children stay socially and educationally backward with limited financial prospects and find it difficult to assimilate with society at large.