Over a month after the Kerala government ordered the closure of Peace International School in Ernakulam for teaching objectionable and communal content, the Managing Director of the school, MM Akbar, was nabbed in Hyderabad on Sunday.
According to a report, Akbar landed in Hyderabad from Australia and was scheduled to board a flight to Doha on Monday. He was reportedly caught before he could flee the country.
It is learnt that Kochi police have reached Hyderabad and taken custody of Akbar, for whom Kerala state had issued a lookout notice.
Talking to TNM, ACP K Lalji said, “Yes, MM Akbar is in the custody of Kochi police and they are expected to reach Kochi around 6 pm. The arrest will be recorded soon.”
MM Akbar, who is known as Kerala’s equivalent of Zakir Naik, heads the institution which has 13 schools under its banner in different districts in the state.
“We have already registered a criminal case against the management of the school for the communally sensitive messages found in their textbooks. Strict action will be taken in the case,” the ACP added.
It was the State Education Department that ordered the closure of Peace International School in late 2017. The CM Pinarayi Vijayan himself ordered the closure of the school after taking into consideration the reports submitted by the Education Secretary and the Collector on the objectionable content taught in the school.
The reports submitted by the Education Department also exposed the fact that the management was not following NCERT, CBSE or SCERT textbooks, but following textbooks compiled by a Mumbai-based Islamic educational institution.
The school came under the scanner in early 2016 when several missing persons who fled the country allegedly to join the Islamic terror outfit ISIS were linked to the Peace chain of schools in Kasaragod, Palakkad, Malappuram and Ernakulam.
In October 2016, the police filed an FIR against a branch of the school for promoting enmity among different groups on the basis of religion. Portions of a Class 2 textbook that propagates Islamic orthodoxy and conversion were leaked, in which there were objective type questions on what the students would do if their friend wanted to convert to Islam. The textbook also taught students how to deal with non-Muslims.
In December 2016, Kochi city police had arrested three Mumbai-based publishers for printing the textbooks containing objectionable content that were taught at Peace International School in Ernakulam.