KOCHI: “Will you give your life for Islam? How to treat non-Muslims?” These are some of the content police found in the Islamic studies text book meant for the Class II students of the Peace International School run by Peace Education Foundation in Kochi against which a case has been registered.
A police team under Kochi range IG S Sreejith was following the syllabus and activities of the school after getting hints that the missing persons from Kerala, who reportedly joined the Islamic State, were connected to the institution. Police officials, who conducted a probe against the institution, told Express that the school had avoided Biology texts as they teach reproduction and sex.
“There was nothing in the syllabus to teach about India or nationalism. Islamic study is the main subject from Class I to Class VIII. Other subjects like Maths, Social Studies and Science are elementary. The students were not having any Biology lessons as they have been considered unnecessary. The students have to be admitted to other schools as the school offers classes only up to the standard VIII,” said the official.
Police officials said they found several maps of Tehran in one of the computers when they raided the school following the missing of Merin Jacob, a Kochi native who is suspected to have joined the IS.
“We suspect that more persons working with the establishment were planning to join the IS. All those missing persons who allegedly joined the IS have been connected - directly or indirectly - with Peace International School. At present, there are 11 teachers for Islamic Study subjects from Bihar,” said the official.
An FIR has been registered against the school management committee, which include three businessmen as its trustees. There are 13 schools in the state under the foundation with M M Akbar, Islamic preacher, as its director. The FIR was registered under IPC Section 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) at Palarivattom police station following the report by Ernakulam District Education Officer.
“The school was functioning without proper CBSE accreditation. We had interrogated the three businessmen as part of the initial inquiry. They claimed ignorance of the syllabus and told us that they provided funds as requested by Akbar. However, their role will be probed,” said the official. Babu Moopan, chairman of Nippon Toyota and a trustee of the school, said his responsibility was to provide infrastructure facilities. “The syllabus is prepared by Peace Educational Foundation. All the schools run by the Foundation in the state and outside follow the same syllabus. Charges are levelled only against the school in Kochi. People who are trying to tarnish the reputation of the institution are behind this,” he said.
Siraj Mather, Managing Director of Asten Realtors and another trustee of the institution said a false campaign was being carried out against the school. “This time we are moving legally. The school with over 600 students has been in existence for eight years. There are no clandestine activities in the school and anyone having doubts can visit the institution. Moreover, 60 per cent of the staff and teachers are non-Muslims,” he said. Earlier, when reports connecting the 21 missing persons with them surfaced, Peace International School had organised a press meet, denying any link with extremism. Attempts were made to contact Akbar, but he is currently attending a function abroad.