Wednesday, 6 July, 2022
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How Low Can Humanity Go?

Sir Frank Peters

How Low Can Humanity Go?

To what depth is humanity capable of sinking? How low can it go? Not much lower than this latest episode in a hideous demonstration of corporal punishment on children, I surmise.

Two minor boys were rescued last week from an horrific hellish experience that’s sure to impact their thinking and love for humanity. In an obscene act of cruelty at Lucknow madrassa, their feet were chained to prevent their escape.

But there's no need for anybody to be concerned. It’s okay it seems... their parents had requested the cleric to be strict with the boys! As if that makes it right and acceptable in the eyes of man and God.

The horrific inhumane incident came to light after a video of the ill-fated minors went viral and was brought to the attention of the local police. Consequently, the cleric was detained, but the boys’ parents, in a written request, said they did not want any legal action taken against the cleric, Maulana Riyaz, because they had urged the maulana to treat the boys strictly.

The police said the parents claimed their children had attempted to escape the madrassa many times and that’s why they had requested the maulana to be strict with them.

When the two minors escaped from the madrassa located in Gosainganj and fled to their native village of Barabanki, a distance of around 35 km, their feet were still in chains. Villagers were shocked to see them in the barbaric iron shackles and removed the chains.

According to Shailendra Giri, the officer in charge at Gosainganj police station, the younger boy, 13, a native of Barabanki, was admitted to the madrassa for better ‘Deeni Talim’ (religious learning). “His parents said he had come home during Ramzan and never wanted to return.” And if incidents like that were common at the madrassa who’s to blame them?

Dr Shuchita Chaturvedi, member, Uttar Pradesh State Child Rights Protection Commission, it was inhuman to keep the children confined. “Corporal punishment to children in educational institutions is an offence. Even if the children were meted out harsh treatment with the consent of parents. Legal action will follow,” said Dr Chatruvedi.

A police inquiry will now be conducted into the credentials of the madrassa to ascertain if it is on the government panel and also the sources of its funding. The number of students enrolled in the madrassa and their permanent address will also be probed. A police officer said that during the probe, it would also be inquired if the maulana was treating other students with the same strictness and the culprit would be adequately punished on the basis of the report.

Don’t think for one moment that such a heinous crime could not happen here in Bangladesh against Allah-loving, Allah-fearing, angels-of-God children because it already has... and worse!

In 2011 – 11-years ago –Justice Md. Imman Ali and Justice Md. Sheikh Hassan Arif washed the dirty corporal punishment linen of the education system in public. Corporal punishment was considered to be normal and acceptable practice at the time. They directed corporal punishment to be outlawed in Bangladesh's schools, homes and madrassas. They described corporal punishment to be “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child's fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom.”

Add pad-locking the children in rusted iron chains and a truly hideous ugly picture is created that only serves the will of Satan and heartless sadists.

If teachers and imams are not serving the best interests of Allah and not protecting the children on their watch, who will? The days of complete ignorance, turning one’s head and looking elsewhere are over. Those who still do are sure to be damned, if not in this life, then surely in the next. Corporal punishment is an outward sign of sheer ignorance of those who mete it out.

 

The writer is a human rights activist