Thiruvananthapuram: A former Imam was booked on Tuesday for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl at Vithura near here.
The police said a case was registered against Shafeeq Al Qasimi, who was the former Imam of a rural mosque at Tholicode, Vithura. He is absconding.
A case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was registered against him based on the mosque committee's statement. The committee has also suspended him from the Kozhikode Muslim Jama-ath.
"An FIR was registered as per the statement of the mosque committee," the police said.
According to the statement, Qasimi had lured the 15-year-old girl to an isolated forest area and sexually assaulted her last week.
The incident came to light after some women confronted the cleric after spotting him with the school-going girl in the forest.
The child, however, denied the assault charges against the former Imam. The victim or her family are yet to file a complaint.
"The girl probably did not give statement as she would have felt threatened. We hope to arrest the accused in two days," Nedumangad DySP D Ashokan said.
Meanwhile, Shafeeq Al Qasimi, whose religious preachings are popular on social media, is likely to approach the Kerala High Court for anticipatory bail.
Read more: Latest Kerala news