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Muslims charged over attack on professor

Radical Islamic group named but main accused has absconded

Muslims charged over attack on professor reporter, Kochi

January 17, 2011

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Police in Kerala have charged 27 members of an Islamic radical group for chopping the hand of a Catholic professor for allegedly insulting their religion. The police filed the charge sheet in the Additional Sessions Court in Ernakulam on Jan. 14, six months after members of the Popular Front of India chopped the hands of P. J. Joseph, who taught in a Catholic college in the southern Indian state. According to the charge sheet, Sawad, the main accused in the case, has absconded. “Sawad and six others were directly involved in the barbaric attack,” B. Sandhya, Inspector General of Police, Kochi, told today. They attacked Joseph on July 4 when he was returning from church after Sunday Mass. The case has 54 accused, but many have reportedly fled the country. The police informed the court that the accused wanted to create sectarian disharmony. Joseph, who taught in Newman College, Thodupuzha, had incurred the wrath of Islamic militants for allegedly preparing a question paper that cast aspersions on Prophet Mohamed. The police had arrested but later released him on bail before the Muslim group attacked him. Since then, the college dismissed him for not apologizing. He is now fighting a case against the college management. Joseph told today that he is not bothered about the charge sheet or its outcome. “Let the law take its course of action. I’ve forgiven my attackers. Now praying to God for justice,” he said. Joseph’s sister, a nun who works in New Zealand, was with him at the time of the attack. “Our only regret is that the college management has not taken him back. We have to pay a huge amount for treatment,” said Sister Marie Stella. Related reports Five killed as Catholics and Muslims clash in Kerala Police claim timely action prevented serious sectarian riots IB12877.1637
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