Police in northern India arrested a 48-year-old Islamic cleric on Monday for allegedly raping a 12-year-old girl inside a Delhi mosque on Sunday, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported on Wednesday.
The alleged incident took place on the evening of May 30 when the young girl visited a mosque in the Harsh Vihar district of Delhi, India’s national capital territory, “to fetch water,” Delhi police officers told PTI on June 2.
The girl’s family “asked her to fetch water from the mosque as they did not have drinking water at home,” a police officer associated with the case told the Hindustan Times on June 2.
“The girl went to the mosque and was allegedly lured by the cleric. He forced himself on her,” the police officer said.
The girl immediately returned home after the incident and “told everything to her family members when they asked her why she came late,” according to the police officer.
“The family, along with some neighbors, went to the mosque to confront the cleric. Seeing them, the suspect fled through the rear door,” he said.
“Agitated locals gathered at the mosque and informed the local police about the matter,” the police officer revealed.
“Police personnel were deployed to pacify the angry people and maintain law and order in the neighborhood,” the police officer added.
The girl’s parents filed a criminal report with Delhi police over the incident on Sunday night. Delhi police subsequently registered the case and arranged for the girl to undergo a medical and psychological evaluation. Police arrested the suspect in the case on Monday.
“The accused was booked under section 376 [rape] of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act,” a senior police officer in Delhi told PTI on Wednesday.
“The cleric was also produced before a city court which sent him to 14-day judicial custody,” PTI quoted a Delhi police spokesman as saying.
“The accused lived in Ghaziabad’s Loni, is married, and has four children,” Delhi police said on June 2, according to India Today.
Loni is a town within the district of Ghaziabad, which is located east of Delhi in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
India’s Swarajya news magazine identified the suspect as “Imam Ilyas” on Tuesday.
“He was arrested Monday morning from Loni in Ghaziabad where he lived,” a senior Delhi police officer said, according to Swarajya.