The Kerala High Court on Wednesday ruled that the minor girl who was sexually abused by Imam Shafeeq Qassimi in Tholicode, Thiruvananthapuram will continue to remain in the custody of the Child Welfare Committee. A division bench of the Kerala High Court passed this order after rejecting a revision petition by the minor’s parents who sought the custody of their child.
The bench comprising of Justices Harikumar and Annie John had ordered the CWC to produce the 15-year-old before the court on Wednesday, for the hearing of the case.
The minor girl who is in class 10 is currently in the custody of the Child Welfare Committee, after she was identified as ‘child in need of care and protection’ as per the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act.
“The girl was sexually abused by the accused Imam in the beginning of February. Following this, her mother refused to file a complaint with the Tholicode police. The mother even attempted to hide the fact that the girl was abused by the Imam. This is when the Child Welfare Committee shifted the girl to their custody,” according to a reliable source.
The survivor was shifted to the custody of the Child Welfare Committee on February 9. Following this, the parents of the minor had filed a petition with the Juvenile Justice board requesting that she be returned to their custody. They alleged that the girl was forcefully shifted by the police to the care of the Child Welfare Committee.
“Soon after this, the parents filed a Habeas Corpus on February 22 with the Kerala High Court. In response to the Habeas Corpus, the High Court asked that they wait for the order of the Juvenile Justice Board. The parents then withdrew the Habeas Corpus,” a source in the High Court told TNM.
When the Juvenile Justice Board rejected their petition which alleged that the minor was illegally detained, the parents filed a revision petition with High Court last week, which was heard on Wednesday.
The court ordered that the girl continue to remain in the custody of the Child Welfare Committee until further orders.
The 15-year old minor girl was sexually abused by 40-year Imam Qassimi who headed the Tholicode Muslim Mosque in Thiruvananthapuram. According to eye witnesses, the girl was taken by the Imam in his car to an isolated forested area in Vithura, Thiruvananthapuram where he sexually abused her. When the witnesses, who were women workers, questioned what a school going girl was doing with an older man, the Imam allegedly said that she was his wife.