Cleric ar­rested from Pan­vel for sex­u­ally as­sault­ing mi­nor boy

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NAVI MUM­BAI: A 34- year- old Mus­lim cleric from Pan­vel was ar­rested on Fri­day for sex­u­ally abus­ing a mi­nor boy.

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice, So­hail Ab­dul Salam would teach re­li­gious texts at a mosque where around 30 stu­dents, in­clud­ing the 12-year-old vic­tim, at­tended his classes.

“The stu­dents were di­vided into two batches. Around 15 days ago, the cleric asked the boy to ac­com­pany him to his home af­ter class on the pre­text of giv­ing him clothes and other goods,” said SB Sa­hane, as­sis­tant po­lice in­spec­tor from Pan­vel city po­lice sta­tion.

“The cleric is mar­ried but his fam­ily mem­bers were not at home that day. Tak­ing ad­van- tage of the sit­u­a­tion, he sex­u­ally as­saulted the boy and then asked him not to re­veal it to any­one,” Sa­hane said.

The cleric al­legedly re­peated the crime on two to three more oc­ca­sions in the next two weeks.

The boy, who was too scared to tell his par­ents, fi­nally mus­tered courage and nar­rated the in­ci­dent to his fa­ther on Thurs­day. His fa­ther then ap­proached the po­lice.

“We have reg­is­tered a first in­for­ma­tion re­port( FIR) un­der sec­tions 9(f),(l) and 10 of Pro­tec­tion of Chil­dren from Sex­ual Of­fences Act, 2012, and ar­rested the ac­cused,” said Sa­hane.

The court has re­manded the cleric in po­lice cus­tody for three days.

Sa­hane said the po­lice were in­ves­ti­gat­ing if the cleric had as­saulted other stu­dents.

“We are in­ter­act­ing with other stu­dents, but no one has come for­ward with sim­i­lar com­plaints so far,” said Sa­hane.

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