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ED: Ending the abuse that goes on in madrasas

  • Published at 09:19 am March 16th, 2021

We must, at every step, react to incidences of abuse with outrage

The recent viral video of madrasa teacher Yahya abusing a child on madrasa premises has reconfirmed for many what has long been known -- a great amount of students are routinely abused in madrasas across the nation by those meant to protect and nurture them. 

This abuse can take many forms -- physical, psychological, or sexual. Schools in Bangladesh in general, and madrasas in particular, have always lacked oversight, allowing authority figures such as teachers to get away with abuse in the name of punishment.

It is good to see that the High Court on Sunday expressed concern over the abuse of madrasa students, and ordered all educational institutions to follow the laws of the land. Previous court directives forbid physical and mental torture of students, and these directives must be respected. 

Madrasa teacher Yahya has been arrested, and also expelled -- it must now be ensured that he is brought to book and not let off easy. This arrest should send a clear message to all other would-be abusers of children in madrasas across the country.

The overall problem, of course, goes far beyond enforcement of the law. One must ask the question: Why are so many adults, in positions of power of children, so interested in doling out physical abuse? This is a sickness within the fabric of society.

Responsible, ethical human beings do not abuse children in their care. If fear of arrest is the only thing holding a person back from brutalizing an innocent child, then we have a very long way to go in cleansing society of this toxic mindset. 

For this to happen, we must change the culture, we must, at every step, react to incidences of abuse with outrage and demand justice. For too long has this culture of child abuse been normalized in our country.