A Popular Front of India (PFI) leader Mohammed Sharief alias Sharief (46) was arrested by Mangaluru police for his involvement in a sex racket using underage girl students. Sharief runs a real estate business and is from Udyawar near Manjeshwaram in Kerala near the Karnataka border. Others arrested for their involvement in this trafficking of minors include Rahmath (48) who is a housewife, Mehandi designer Sana alias Asma, a mutton stall owner named Umar Kunhi (43), and a fish stall owner Mohammed Haneef (46).
Earlier this month, police had rescued two students from an apartment in South Mangaluru and arrested Shameena the brothel-keeper, her husband and pimp Abu Bakr Siddique, and a ‘madam’ named Aisha. These Islamists were allegedly running an organized prostitution racket.
This prostitution ring was uncovered after a 17-year-old victim managed to escape their clutches and approached her college authorities. Mangaluru commissioner of police N Shashi Kumar told reporters on Thursday that the student informed her college lecturer that she was being forced into prostitution and was undergoing trauma and harassment. The college principal intimated the child welfare committee (CWC) and the local police. After counseling, she narrated their ordeal which led the police to raid the rented accommodation in Attavar.
The police commissioner coordinated with DCP (law and order) Hariram Shankar, women police personnel, child welfare committee officials, the principal of the PU college, women and child development officers, and the local childline officials and launched a joint operation following which the racket was busted. The commissioner said that the accused were operating the racket from a penthouse located on the 5th floor of an apartment building in Nandigudda.
Two pre-university minor students and 2 ladies above 18 were rescued from the brothel. A Kerala-based lady was supplying Shameena with clients who preyed on minors but it is not known if that woman is recently arrested Rahmath. The accused have been operating from the same premises for the past two years.
Their clientele was mostly from Malabar and some arrived from other parts of Kerala. CCTVs (both open and concealed) all over the premises have made the police suspect that the accused could have honey-trapped some of their wealthy clients. Local police are verifying the call records, WhatsApp chats, and others details of the accused.
Meanwhile, the victims confirmed that they were blackmailed to stay in the racket, using videos that were secretly recorded. The accused were charged with sections under the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act.
Among the newly arrested persons, Sandeep (33), a building contractor, and Cyprian Andrade alias Praveen D’Souza (40) who is also a building contractor had sexually assaulted the minors. Sharief too raped the minors and they were engaged in arranging clients and introducing the victim to them. Mutton/fish sellers know the rich clients in the area and Mehendi workers are in contact with students and minors.
As the investigation threw up more details, police registered five separate FIRs of which four are under the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). Officials from women and child development, the child protection unit and the child welfare committee are counseling the distressed victims.
Police are on the lookout for more such brothels and are trying to find out whether more students are victims of such vicious gangs. The original victim is still in shock and is yet to submit a formal complaint. Police said that more arrests will follow, once she files her complaint.
Senior police officers from neighboring districts are collecting data about prostitution using minors from those areas and sharing the information with their Mangaluru colleagues. Following the arrest of the 7, the total number of people picked up in the case has risen to 10.
The investigation is being handled by Karnataka Central Crime Branch (CCB) inspector Mahesh Prasad who received the union home minister’s special operation medal for his handling of the ISIS terrorist case, a few months ago.
Suppression of social evil leading to lust
Kerala has no known brothels. Consecutive governments have pandered to radical Islamists and they have made sure that legal prostitution is banned in Kerala, as per sharia laws. This has led to a situation where perverts rape and sodomize both the old and young (the weaker ones) and on some occasions, even murder the victims.
Multiple court orders have confirmed that consensual sex is not an offense but Islamist moral policing still continues in Kerala. It is when cases like the Mangaluru one hit the limelight that one observes that it is the same moral police who are behind such prostitution rackets too.
However hard one tries to whitewash things, Keralites from Malabar (north Kerala) head to Manipal and Mangaluru seeking higher education. Unions have damaged our social systems and they seem beyond repair now. Even as education standards dip drastically, it is now impossible to get a certificate from any university in the state, without paying bribes.
Cities like Mangaluru, Coimbatore, Bengaluru, and Manipal are also areas that the minor/ student sex rackets target. Such places attract both rape jihadis and grooming ones who ultimately sell their victims to brothels. Some vulnerable girls from poor and middle-income families are attracted by the lure of money and wealth but end up earning next to nothing.
Last month, Abdul Qadir Najeeb (34), Iqbal Mohammed (35), Zeenath Mubeen (28), and a beedi worker named Reshma (32) were arrested from Mangaluru after they offered sexual favors and then honey trapped Keralites. Their modus operandi was to meet potential youngsters on social media, befriend them and invite them over to Mangaluru. Once there Najeeb and Mohammed would strip the victims and take photographs with the ladies in compromising positions. They would then blackmail the victims using those images.