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Kerala govt orders closure of school for communal curriculum

Three of the staff of Peace International School chain among 21 people who allegedly left Kerala to join Islamic State.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2018 21:13 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala govt,communal curriculum,Islamic State
Peace International School runs a chain of schools in Kerala.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The Kerala government on Thursday ordered the closure of a chain of schools for its alleged radical curriculum aimed at disrupting communal harmony.

Peace International School that runs a chain of schools in the southern state faced a police probe after it was found that at least three of its staff were among the 21 people who left their homes in 2016 to allegedly join Islamic State.

“We were really shocked to see some of the content. They propagated extremist ideology and carried details of so-called atrocities against Islam,” said a member of the panel that examined the school curriculum. The member didn’t wish to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to media.

The school management criticised the government’s decision, based on reports filed by the education department and Ernakulam district collector, as “a vilification campaign aimed at tarnishing a well-managed minority educational group”.

The group has 10 schools in Kerala and one each in neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Initially the school in Ernakulam will be shut down. Other branches would be closed after accommodating students in other schools, government sources said.

The probe panels found that though the schools were affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), they taught books compiled by Burooj Realization, a Mumbai-based Islamic educational institute.

CBSE schools typically use books published by the State Council of Educational Research and Training or the National Council of Educational Research and Training.

Some of the content was radical and promoted enmity on the basis of religion and race, the probe found.

Police had raided the Ernakulam branch in 2016 after they go to know that a teacher at the school, Merin Jacob alias Mariyam, was among the missing 21 and a case was registered against the group for promoting enmity on the basis of religion.

Five of the missing people were converts to Islam.

Similarly, Yasin Ahmed, who was arrested from Delhi airport allegedly on way to Turkey to join Islamic State, taught English at the Malappuram branch.

The alleged leader of the missing group, Abdul Rashid, was a public relations officer with the school chain.

The school chain was founded in 2006 by MM Akbar, a Muslim preacher, often referred to as Kerala’s Zakir Naik, the Mumbai-based evangelist who is on the run now.

Akbar, who lives in Qatar, has not responded to police notice.

First Published: Jan 04, 2018 18:26 IST