Mystery shrouds 11-year-old boy allegedly burnt by army men; questions about alleged sexual assault raised

By Staff Reporter,

Hyderabad: The death of 11-year-old madrassa student allegedly burnt alive by army men inside army garrison has seen a new twist with the surfacing of allegations of sodomy and child rape by army men. However, Sheikh Mustafauddin’s father Sheikh Muqeetuddin, did not confirm the allegation.

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Mustafa, the madrasa student was a resident of Siddiqnagar, a residential locality inside Mehdipatnam army garrison. In his dying declaration, Mustafa told the magistrate that men in army uniform had set him ablaze. The boy had succumbed to his burn injuries at the Apollo DRDO hospital on October 9.

Mustafa's father Muqeet along with locals of Siddiqnagar.
Mustafa’s father Muqeet along with locals of Siddiqnagar.

According to Muqeetuddin, who was present during the boy’s final testimony before the magistrate, on October 8th, the day he was allegedly set afire by army men, Mustafa was playing near the boundary dividing garrison and their residential area when two men in army uniform called him.

“They asked Mustafa to bring two match boxes and two chocolates. Mustafa told (the magistrate) when he brought those articles from a nearby grocery store the army men went to the main gate and asked him (Mustafa) to cross over the boundary wall to deliver the items. He went inside (but) suddenly found himself in the clutches of army men, who started to beat him violently. One pulled his collar and other poured kerosene and ignited it,” Mr. Muqeet said.

He, however, could not offer any logical reason for his son being set ablaze by army men. But Mazheruddin, Mustafa’s uncle, said: “There was something else that Mustafa wanted to say but was not able to convey it due to his condition.”

He was apparently indicating towards the staggering claims by some locals in Siddiqnagar area. Mohd Aqeel (name changed), a painter, claimed: “Many in the area know that the boy was raped by the army men before being burnt alive, but anyone including his family, do not want to bring it up as they believe it will dishonor the deceased.”

Another local, Suresh (name changed), who work as a watchman in nearby hospital, alleged that the young boy before he was put into an ambulance did tell his family and other locals present “that army men misbehaved and molested him.”

But Mustafa’s father vehemently denied that his son was sexually assaulted before being burnt alive. “I have no suspicion whatsoever on that angle (sexual molestation), the whole incident happened in a time frame of 10-15 minutes, maximum 20 minutes. There is no scope for that kind of incident, I believe,” he said.

“I asked him everything, including about allegation of sexual harassment. I asked him why did the army men call him, if they had done anything indecent with him? My boy was crying for water (but) even in that condition he told me everything, but mentioned nothing about the sexual assault. If anything of that sort would have happened, he could have told me.”

Sheikh Mustafauddin and site where his burned body was found.
Sheikh Mustafauddin and site where his burned body was found.

Humayunagar police inspector S. Ravindar, who is the Investigating Officer of this case, said police found chocolate wrappers at the murder site, which have been sent for further forensic examination. It is being observed in many paedophile sexual assault cases chocolate and sweets are used often to lure kids into the trap, he said.

Inspector Ravindar didn’t rule out sexual assault angel behind the killing, “We are investigating the case from different angles, including this (child rape) one. It was difficult to examine any injury mark as the boy had suffered nearly 90% burn injuries, but his anal swab samples have already been sent to state forensic science laboratory and autopsy report is awaited. These reports can ascertain the exact circumstance of Mustafa’s death.”

A murder case has already been registered against unknown army men under section 302 of IPC in Humayunagar police station. A separate Special Investigation Team has also been formed by West zone DCP to investigate the case. The Indian Army, in a press statement, exonerated its men from the incident even before a formal probe began but assured full cooperation in the probe.