A Facebook post by a scribe alleging sexual abuse of minor boys and girls, by teachers in madrassas, led to a flood of abuses and negative reactions on her page, leading to her social network account being temporarily shut down.
Kozhikode-based Journalist VP Rajeena, who works as a sub-editor with Jamaat-e-Islami’s Malayalam daily, gave a blow by blow account of her life in madrassas two decades ago, in a Facebook post. She described how young students were sexually exploited by madarassa teachers, following which she started receiving threats online.
The faultfinders were so large in numbers that their move to report the profile to Facebook forced the social network to close down Rajeena’s page. Sources said, the Facebook account was “missing” on 25 November, and would be restored after a normal verification process.
The move was triggered by a recent row over gender segregation, in a Kozhikode college. To expose child abuse at the madrassas, Rajeena recalled the first day of Class 1 at the madrassa. She alleged that the ustad (teacher), a “bulky, middle-aged man”, made boys stand in a queue and then called them to his seat, unzipping their trousers to touch them inappropriately. “He ended that exercise after examining the last student in the class,’’ she claimed.
Recalling another incident in Class 4, she wrote an ustad abused girls during the night classes. During power cuts, the 60-year-old ustad, she alleged, would walk towards the girls’ benches and grope them or poke them with a stick. “On one occasion, a senior among the girls warned the ustad warning she would reveal everything to the senior ustad,’’ claimed Rajeena.
“The abuses came in tonnes, questioning why I was making these revelations. They pictured it as an attack on the religion. I never tried to generalise the behaviour of all ustads. I only shared my experiences. But many others from the community did come out in my support; some shared experiences with me that they have not revealed so far,” she said.
Intolerance to my opinion is largely due to the fact that I am a woman from the minority community. They are scared of more women speaking out,” Rajeena was quoted as saying.