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January 22, 2018

Madrasa teacher beats nine-year-old child to death


January 22, 2018

Even though corporal punishment is banned, a nine-year-old boy’s death at the hands of his madrasa teacher on Sunday has once again called into question the Sindh government’s resolve to implement laws.

The minor was beaten to death by his madrasa teacher in the Eidu Goth locality of Bin Qasim Town because, according to District Malir police officials, the boy had escaped from the seminary.

Bin Qasim Town Station House Officer (SHO) Dhani Bux Marri told The News that nine-year-old Muhammad Hussain was beaten to death by his madrasa teacher Najmuddin.

The SHO said the police were informed about the incident by an area resident, following which a team of law enforcers rushed to the madrasa and arrested the teacher.

Marri said the victim’s father Muhammad Saleem told the police in his statement that Hussain often ran away from the madrasa, but he always took his son back to the seminary.

“On Sunday, however, when Hussain’s parents took him back to the madrasa after he had run away for the umpteenth time, the teacher, to punish the boy, beat him as usual, but he did not stop until the kid had breathed his last,” added the officer.

He said the victim’s father was reluctant to initiate action against the madrasa teacher, because of which he did not even allow a post-mortem examination of his son and laid him to rest immediately after his funeral prayer.

District Malir Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Adeel Hussain Chandio told The News that the madrasa teacher had beaten the boy to death with a stick.

The SSP said pictures showing marks of violence on the body of the boy were available with the police, and according to those photos, it was quite clear that the madrasa teacher had viciously beaten the boy.

Chandio said the police had tried to persuade the victim’s father to file a complaint against the madrasa teacher, but he refused by saying that “perhaps this is God’s will”.

However, the officer said the teacher was in police custody, and he had directed the Bin Qasim Town SHO to register a case against him on behalf of the state.

Onus on government

Last January the Sindh Assembly had unanimously passed the Sindh Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill to protect children from corporal punishment at all types of educational institutions, including madrasas, and childcare institutions, including foster care and rehabilitation centres.

The law promises protection of children from punishments that cause pain or discomfort, such as hitting, smacking, slapping, spanking, kicking, shaking or throwing a child, scratching, pinching, biting, pulling hair or boxing ears or forcing a child to stay in uncomfortable positions, burning, scalding or forced ingestion by any person in the family, at a workplace, in schools, etc.

Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) Sindh Manager Zahid Thebo told The News that the provincial legislature had passed the bill a year ago, but not a single case of corporal punishment had been registered in any district of the province.

The Sparc official said the law against corporal punishment was in place, but parents of the victims were reluctant to register cases against teachers, adding that corporal punishment was declared a compoundable offence in the bill, which was the only reason that in most cases like Hussain’s, parents forgave the violators.

Talking about the enforcement of the bill, Thebo said the Sindh Assembly had only passed the bill and set strict punishments for corporal offences, but the provincial legislature was yet to set rules.

He stressed that if parents of the victims did not register cases against teachers involved in corporal punishment, then it was the responsibility of society to file cases against the violators.

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