Following the arrest of Peace International School’s MM Akbar by Kochi police on Sunday, members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and it’s political wing, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) are airing their objections.
In late 2017, a lookout notice was issued by the police for Akbar, who headed the chain of 13 schools which used textbooks with objectionable and communally sensitive content.
Defending Akbar, PFI Kerala President Naseerudin Elamaram alleged in his Facebook post that there is a pattern of hounding Islamic preachers, who make an effort to speak out against Hindu extremism.
“The police have detained MM Akbar, Islamic scholar and preacher in the Hyderabad airport. Akbar was on his way to Doha from Australia and had a stopover in Hyderabad when the police detained him. Police had registered a case with a non-bailable offence on the Peace School issue and this is why Akbar’s passport was seized during immigration.
Just like how Zakir Naik was hounded, the agenda of hounding Islamic scholars and preachers is clearly visible in this incident as well. It is important for our society to be aware of hidden agenda to obliterate persons and organizations who speak out against Hindu extremism.
We hear that swift legal intervention is happening in his case. However, we hope that the Kerala government will revoke the case against Akbar, who is truly innocent, stop his arrest from happening. However, if the attempt is to continue anti-Islamic campaign and hounding of Muslims, society we will come together as one and protest,” the post read.
Speaking to TNM, Noufal, a member of PFI in Kannur said, “On what basis have they arrested MM Akbar? The textbooks that are allegedly communally sensitive were revoked by the school management after the issue came to light. Even the publishers stopped printing the books. There is no need to make such a hue and cry around the issue and arrest him. Books that were controversial and have hurt religious sentiment have been published earlier too. These were revoked after a notice was issued. In fact, when New Jyothi publications published a book with the prophet’s caricature, nobody was arrested. So, this arrest is unfair.”
Following the arrest, SDPI staged a protest in Parappanangadi, Malappuram.
In late 2017, the State Education Department in Kerala ordered the closure of Peace International School which Akbar headed.
Reports submitted by the Education Department also revealed 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 the school in Ernakulam.