Maharashtra: Five Madrasa Teachers Cleared in Child Trafficking Case

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Mumbai High Court dismisses the case after Railway Police admit ‘misunderstanding’

Team Clarion

MUMBAI – In a significant development, the Bombay High Court has dismissed cases of child trafficking against five madrasa teachers arrested by the Railway Police in Bhasawal and Manmar, Maharashtra. The Railway Police conceded in the court that the madrasa teachers, accused of trafficking, were not engaged in any such activity.

The incident dates back to May 2023, when the Government Railway Police in Manmar and Bhasawal arrested five madrasa teachers for accompanying 59 children from Bihar to Maharashtra. Two criminal cases were registered against them on suspicion of child trafficking. Confirming the dismissal of FIRs against the teachers, Maharashtra Director General (DG) Railways Pradanya Sarawade attributed the arrests to a “misunderstanding.”

The episode unfolded as 59 children aged between 8 and 17, residents of Arria district in Bihar, were on their way to Pune and Sangli by train to receive religious education in madrasas. Acting on directives from senior officers attached to the Juvenile Justice Board and the Railway Board in Delhi, the Railway Protection Force and an NGO intercepted the children at Bhasawal and Manmad stations, suspecting them of being trafficked for child labour. Subsequently, the children were placed in shelter homes in Nashik and Bhasawal for 12 days.

However, a twist emerged when the parents of the 59 children from Bihar expressed their distress, asserting that they had willingly entrusted their children to the madrasa teachers for education in Arabic and Urdu. They vehemently contested the police allegations, claiming that a wrong case had been filed. This revelation prompted a re-evaluation of the situation.

Among those arrested were Muhammad Anjoor Alam Muhammad Syed Ali from Sangli and residents of Arria, Saddam Hussain Siddiqui, Nauman Alam Siddiqui, Ejaz Zia Siddiqui, and Muhammad Shahan Awaz Haroon. Initially accused of human trafficking, their innocence was established after a thorough investigation, leading to the closure of the case. The high court’s decision to dismiss the cases against the teachers served as a vindication of their innocence.

Reacting to the court’s ruling, Mufti Ismail Qasmi, an All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MLA, criticised the hasty actions of the police department. He emphasised the importance of conducting comprehensive investigations before accusing individuals of serious crimes. Mufti Ismail underscored the children’s legal right to pursue religious education and denounced any attempts to hinder their access to such teachings.

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