More than two weeks after a Kerala Imam was booked for sexually assaulting a minor girl, the police have not been able to arrest the Imam, who has been absconding ever since. The Kerala police chief, Loknath Behera on Wednesday announced that a special investigation team (SIT) has been constituted to nab Shafiq Al Qassimi, former Chief Imam of the Tholicode Muslim Mosque and a former member of the Kerala Imams Council.
The 14 member SIT which will come under the direct supervision of the Thiruvananthapuram range Inspector General Manoj Abraham IPS, will also include the Nedumangad Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP), D Ashokan, Palode inspector, Manoj Kumar KB, and Vithura Station House Officer (SHO), V Nijam. Providing them support will be three sub-inspectors, three assistant sub-inspectors, two senior civil police officers and three civil police officers.
The Kerala police on February 16 had taken the Imamâ€™s elder brother, Al Ameen into custody after it was found that he was the one who helped the Imam escape.Following this, the police constituted five investigation teams to search for the Imam, both within the state and outside.
On Wednesday, the Kerala police booked a case against six others as well, for helping the accused to abscond. As of Thursday, cases have been registered against two of his brothers, Al Ameen and Noushad, cousins, Sudheer and Ashraf and three workers of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), a political wing of the Popular Front of India (PFI).
The sexual assault incident came to light only after the All India Imams Council in a Facebook post on February 5 announced that it has suspended one of their state committee members as a â€śdisciplinary actionâ€ť. However, it was only later that it was found that he had sexually assaulted a minor.
The Imam is known to have lured the victim into his car while she was on her way back from school, after which he took her to an isolated forest area in a place called Vithura in Thiruvananthapuram and allegedly sexually assaulted her.
The 15-year-old survivor has deposed before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) about the incident after she was given counselling.
Also read: Kerala cops book 7 people for helping Imam accused of raping minor evade arrest