The police arrested MM Akbar, the managing director of schools run by the Peace Educational Foundation in Kerala, at the Hyderabad airport on Sunday. Akbar was wanted for allegedly teaching communal content through textbooks at his schools.
The Peace Educational Foundation has been in the spotlight since October 2016, when the Kerala Police filed a case against it for allegedly including study material aimed at disrupting communal harmony in the school curriculum.
Security agencies have also been monitoring the group since at least three of its staff members were among the 21 people who left their homes in 2016 allegedly to join the Islamic State group. In December 2016, the Kochi Police arrested three publishers in Mumbai for printing the textbooks used at the school’s Ernakulam branch.
Akbar has been on the run since then, with the police saying he was in West Asia, The Indian Express reported. On Sunday, he was travelling from Melbourne in Australia to Doha in Qatar when the police caught him.
“We had issued a lookout notice for Akbar,” Biji George, the assistant commissioner of the Special Branch in charge of the Kochi Police told The Indian Express. “Officials from the Ernakulam Police Station have taken him into custody.”
A spokesperson from the school called Akbar’s arrest “a vilification campaign aimed at tarnishing a minority education group”, the Hindustan Times reported. The spokesperson, who did not want to be identified, said the group had faith in the judiciary and will question the arrest in court.
In January, the police ordered the Ernakulam branch of the school shut.