Boy's legs amputated after alleged whipping by religious school warden

Halim Said

JOHOR BARU: An 11-year-old 'tahfiz' school pupil in Kota Tinggi had both his legs amputated below the knees after he was allegedly beaten with a rubber hose by the warden.

Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi, from Ulu Tiram here, had to undergo the surgery as both his legs had turned blue-black due to blood clot and infections.

Doctors at the Sultan Ismail Hospital (HSI) also found that the infections were rapidly spreading to his kidneys.

Thaqif's mother Felda Wani Ahmad, 40, who was met at the hospital, said the matter came to light late last month after her son told her to stop sending him to the school.

"I had enrolled him to the school since January and he was overjoyed at first. But lately, he was not himself and even pleaded me to stop sending him there as he was afraid of getting whipped by the warden," said Felda Wani.

Felda Wani, who is a school teacher, said Thaqif was sent to the hospital on March 31 and she was shocked when doctors told her they had to amputate her son's legs.

"I was devastated but that is the only way to save his life. We want an explanation from the school," she said.

Felda Wani said she will not hesitate to take legal action against the school and had lodged a report at the Kota Tinggi police station on April 18 after her son's condition worsened.

Kota Tinggi police chief Superintendent Rahmat Othman said police were still investigating the case and that the warden, a 40-year-old 'tahfiz' teacher, has been detained to facilitate the investigation.

"We will need to know if the whipping is the cause of the infection on the boy's legs," he said.

Rahmat said police have also obtained a CCTV recording of the incident, which happened about three weeks ago.

"In the recording, the warden was seen whipping about 15 students," said Rahmat, adding that the case is being investigated under Section 31(1) of the Child Act 2010.

Thaqif's ordeal shocked netizens after his mother posted her woes and her son's worsening condition on her Facebook page.

State Health, Environment, Education and Information Executive Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat, who also took notice of the matter, said the case was also being investigated by the hospital.

"From the doctors' early findings, the bruising does not only occurred on the legs but also on his hands as well," said Ayub.

He added that there were blood clots on both of his legs that had caused bacterial infection and it had spread to other part of his body, risking infecting other vital organs.

"The legs had to be amputated to prevent any further damage to his worsening condition," he said.

The school, which is privately operated, was also being investigated by the Johor Religious Department.

A spokesperson from the department said the school was not under its jurisdiction but the department was carrying out an internal investigation on the school's operation.