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News updated at 3:56 PM IST

Prof's hand-choppers indicted

Last updated: 14 January, 2011
Kochi, Jan 14, DH News Service: 22:27 IST

The 600-page chargesheet has statements of 255 witnesses

The Kerala police on Friday chargesheeted 27 activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) for their alleged involvement in the 'palm-chopping' of a college professor on July 4, 2010.

The chargesheet was filed in the court of the First Additional Sessions Judge in Ernakulam who had earlier issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against 27 other accused who are absconding.

The absconding activists include the first accused Savad who actually committed the act with a hand-held axe and PFI state leader M K Nasser, kingpin of the group.

The 600-page chargesheet quoting 255 witnesses charges the accused with various offences including attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy, sedition, harbouring of offenders, unlawful assembly, possession of arms and rioting. The accused also include Dr Rahim who helped the accused and Anas who got elected to a panchayat from jail later on.

Prof T J Joseph, who headed the Malayalam Department at Newman College in Thodupuzha, Idukki district, was attacked while returning home with his family after a Sunday mass at a church near his home in Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district. His only crime was that he had set a question paper for BCom semester students which alleged carried derogatory references to Prophet Mohammed.

Prof Joseph was fired by the church which runs the college alleging that his intentions were indeed suspect.

Joseph flays church

Reacting to the chargesheet, Prof Joseph said that he had already pardoned those who committed the act. He said he still believed that he had not wilfully committed a crime by framing the question but that he did regret it if it had hurt religious sentiments.

“However, the real accused are some people who still believe that I had intentionally committed the crime,”' he said taking potshots at the church. He said he intended to continue with reading and writing in future.

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