Weeks after a 40-year-old Imam from Thiruvananthapuram was booked for allegedly raping a minor girl in Vithura, the Kerala police has now registered cases against 7 others for helping the accused Imam abscond. Cases have been registered against 4 of the Imam’s kin, including his two brothers Al Ameen and Nousdhad, cousins Sudheer and Ashraf. Case has been filed against 3 SDPI workers who have been accused of aiding the imam in his escape. SDPI is the political wing of the Popular Front of India.
“The accused persons have been booked on three counts. They were found to have helped the rape accused Imam evade arrest, they have helped hide the vehicle - KL 18 6 114 Innova - which the Imam had taken to the forest near Vithura where he raped the minor girl. The accused have also been found to have given financial support to the Imam while he was in hiding,” Asokan told TNM.
“We have arrested just 1 out of the 7 people we have booked. We suspect that all of them have had a role to play in helping the Imam escape,” Asokan added.
The police have however been unable to arrest the Imam though they claim to have searched all possible hideout locations in Perumbavoor. These searches were mostly carried out on basis of tips and police information, Asokan added.
The Thiruvananthapuram police had summoned one of the bothers Al Ameen for questioning right after Imam Shafeeq had been booked 2 weeks ago. Although the police did not register a case against him then, he had during questioning stated that two SDPI workers had visited Shafeeq’s hide out and handed over Rs 2 lakh as financial aid.
Asokan added that the names of the SDPI workers who have been booked can only be divulged once the report had been filed before the court. The accused workers are suspected to be in hiding currently.
Further, DYSP Asokan also confirmed to media that a fresh case against Imam Shafeeq under section 228 A of the IPC would be registered for revealing the victim’s name in a voice not he recorded and circulated on WhatsApp to claim innocence.
The rape accused Imam - who was the former Chief of the Tholicode Muslim Mosque and a member of the Kerala Imam’s Council - had been booked for taking a minor girl to a deserted forest area in Vithura in the Thiruvananthapuram district and sexually abusing her. A group of Kudumbashree workers who happened to be in the isolated location were eye witnesses and had revealed that they had questioned why the Imam was there with a 15-year-old girl. A week after this incident, case was registered against the Imam based on a complaint by Badusha, the President of the Tholicode Muslim Mosque.
The 15-year-old survivor had been transferred to a shelter home under the social justice department where she had given her statement against the Imam following counselling. The All India Imam’s Council put out a Facebook post immediately following the incident, announcing that they had suspended Imam Qasimi. However, they had refused to disclose the reasons for the suspension.