Sacked lecturer appeals to college to revoke decision

T J Joseph, who is still struggling to recover from the double blow, has sent a letter to the management of Newman college at Thodupuzha, requesting that he be reinstated on humanitarian grounds as he had not deliberately done any harm.
Church sources said that in his letter sent through a relative, Joseph said his salary was his only source of income to sustain his family and his 25 year record as a teacher was unblemished.

Nobody who knew him all these years would ever have called him a "heretic or mischief monger," said Joseph, whose hand was chopped off allegedly by Popular Front of India activists on July 4 for preparing a question paper with alleged derogatory references to Prophet Mohamed.

He said he was touched by the visit of bishops, priests and nuns at the hospital.
Joseph, who was teaching Malayalam literature, was first suspended after the question paper row earlier this year and dismissed from service on September 1 on the ground that he had hurt the religious sentiments of a community.

The College authorities justified their action, holding that it was necessary to assert the secular credentials of the educational institutions run by the church.
Writers and academics, mostly of pro-Left circles have rallied round Joseph, condemning the college's action as harsh and inhuman as he had suffered physical assault from fanatics.

The Syndicate of Mahatma University, to which Newman College is affiliated, is expected to look into the legal aspects of the action against Joseph at its meeting this week.

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