Barely 30 metres from the hall where he studied at a madrasa, the decomposed body of an 11-year-old boy, partially covered in sand with a wooden ply lying on his face and upper body, was found in a small room inside a mosque in Nuh on Monday. Police said the boy, suspected to have gone missing from the madrasa on Saturday evening, was found murdered. No arrest has been made so far as mystery shrouds the circumstances that led to the death.
His family said they received information that he had gone missing from the madrasa at 7.05 pm on Saturday.
“We have a madrasa in our village too, but we had sent him here since it has better facilities… and a better environment. We thought he would be safe and taken care of there, but…,” said his uncle.
He said he got a call from a haji on Saturday evening asking if his nephew had returned home. “They said he is missing. We started looking for him in the village and nearby areas and put out messages on social media. We went to the madrasa and checked the premises. The search continued into the night. The room in the eidgah (mosque), from where the body was eventually recovered, was locked. The workers there told us they had already searched the room and found nothing. They refused to allow us to check CCTVs… then, at 11.50 am on Monday, we heard his body had been found from that room,” he alleged.
Police said that on Monday morning, a woman who works at the nearby dargah noticed foul smell coming from an enclosure and found the body when she went inside to check.
“We want justice. It is strange that for almost two days, he could not be found and later his body was found from an enclosure in the same premises. From the adjacent room, announcement for azaan (call for prayer) is made five times a day and none of the workers at the madrasa could spot the body for two days… An innocent boy has been found murdered at a sacred place… a place where we thought he would be safe,” said a family member.
The madrasa’s caretaker said that at least 15 students stay there. “This boy joined last year. He was present during late afternoon prayers on Saturday. It appears that after prayers, he went out to a shop with 2-3 other boys. He did not return,” he claimed.
After the incident was reported, anxious parents from nearby villages arrived at the madrasa on Tuesday. “The classes have been put on hold. My son has been studying here for a year…,” said a woman.
At the boy’s house in his village, hundreds had gathered on Tuesday afternoon to offer their condolences. His family said the boy’s father, a labourer, died of an illness a couple of years ago. His uncle, who filed the police complaint, works as a labourer, earning Rs 300-400 a day, while his mother is a home-maker raising three daughters.
“On festivals or during a function in the village, he would return home. He had visited on Eid recently…I have lost everything,” she said.
Nuh SP Varun Singla visited the madrasa on Tuesday afternoon and questioned the caretaker and staff.
“The scene of the crime suggested that the body had been hidden… it was decomposed. We have registered a case of murder. Several teams including special units are working to trace the accused. Prima facie, it appears that the boy went missing on Saturday evening. We are investigating the sequence of events. At the moment, outsiders as well as people working at the madrasa are under suspicion, but we can only say more once the probe is complete,” said Singla.
The post-mortem was conducted by a medical board on Tuesday. Police said the autopsy report is awaited