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Kerala: Peace International School comes under scanner for association with missing youth

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 5 August 2016, 9:06 IST

In a brand new revelation in the case involving 21 Kerala youth going missing, the state's Peace International school has come under scanner on the basis of alleged links it had with those missing youth who are suspected to have fled the nation to join ISIS.

The new lead in the case came after the arrest of 28-year-old Yasmin Ahmad, who had been apprehended by the police at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on 31 July. She was about to board a flight to Kabul to allegedly join one of the missing youth.

Police investigation revealed that Yasmin Ahmad, a resident of Bihar, had worked as an English teacher with the Peace International School in Kotakkal of Kerala's Malappuram district for two years, reported the Hindustan Times. Of the 21 youth who had gone missing, a number of them had also been associated with the school in various capacities.

This common link helped direct the police to the Peace International School, which has now become a crucial element in the investigation procedure.

Abdul Rashid, one among the missing youth, is believed to have played a central role in the disappearance of the group. He had been working as the public relations officer of the Peace International School till his disappearance. Rashid's wife, also missing, had worked as a teacher in the same school.

The authorities at the Peace International School, which is run by the Niche group and founded by MM Akbar, have alleged that they are being targeted because of their association with the missing youth. Hailed as Kerala's Zakir Naik, MM Akbar runs two conversion centres in Ponnani and Kozhikode, and the Nice group is an independent religious body that aims at propagating Islam.

The Peace International School has over 7000 students enrolled in the 10 schools branches they are running in Kerala, and is the school of choice for most NRI parents in the state. In the wake of the disturbing revelations, several concerned parents have withdrawn their wards from the school.

"Rashid and some of the missing worked here one or two years ago. We had no association with them once they left the school. It is not proper to target a well-run professional group citing the role of old staffers," said Mohamed Amir, a spokesman of the Niche group, was quoted to have said in the Hindustan Timesreport.

(Disclaimer: In a previously published report, Yasmin Ahmad has been referred to as Yasmeen Muhammad, as per an Indian Express report.)

First published: 5 August 2016, 9:06 IST