The Bengaluru police have arrested a 50-year-old muezzin of a mosque after he was alleged of sexually assaulting seven minor students, whom he tutored. The man, identified as Muneer Abbas Ali, was arrested on Thursday following complaints by parents and children at the Ashok Nagar Police Station in the city.
As per the police, Muneer hails from Gauribidanur, a village around 75 km from Bengaluru in Chikballapur district. Muneer taught Arabic, Kannada and Hindi to students near his residence at Anepalya in southeast Bengaluru. The crime began to unravel when a few students of Muneer refused to go for tuitions. When the parent of one of the boys questioned him, he revealed that Muneer had forced himself on him and sexually assaulted him.
“The family alerted the parents of the other boys in the class. As many as seven cases have been filed with the Ashok Nagar police since Wednesday. We suspect that many victims and their parents have not come forward fearing social stigma,” a police officer told The Hindu.
Muneer was arrested on Wednesday after the first boy reported the incident to the police and filed a complaint. Since the arrest, six other students have come forward with similar complaints of sexual assault.
“Initially, one boy went to the police on Wednesday. Then six more followed suit after we arrested Muneer,” said D Devaraja, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Division) to the Times of India.
The investigation into the incident found that the boys, who are class 11 and 12 students, learned Arabic, Hindi and Kannada under him at a prayer hall in Anepalya.
Muneer was charged under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). He has been remanded to five-day custody