The National Investigation Agency (NIA) re-arrested the out-on-bail accused and a member of the radical Islamist organisation Popular Front of India (PFI), KA Najeeb in connection with a professor’s palm chopping case in Kerala.
Najeeb was re-arrested on Wednesday after the Supreme Court stayed the order of the Kerala High Court granting bail to him.
Najeeb was booked under relevant sections of the IPC, Explosive Substances Act, and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for “conspiring and facilitating the lethal attack on Professor TJ Joseph at Thodupuzha, Ernakulam district in Kerala on July 4, 2010.”
Najeeb was arrested by the NIA on April 10, 2015, in connection with the case from Coimbatore, but was granted bail by the Kerala HC on July 23, 2019, following delay in commencement of trial. Of the 31 people nabbed by the NIA in the case, 13 were found guilty and the rest were acquitted.
The NIA had challenged the Kerala HC’s order in the apex court, and following a stay by the Supreme Court the NIA team re-arrested him.
Professor TJ Joseph was the faculty of the Newmans College at Thodupuzha in Idukki. He was attacked by the members of Popular Front of India, a radical Muslim group, alleging that one of his questions in an internal examination paper, which was reportedly set by Joseph, had derogatory remarks on Prophet Mohammed.
The Muslim radicals attacked the professor as a punishment for the alleged irreverent reference to Prophet Mohammed in a question paper that he prepared.
On July 4, 2010, when the professor was returning home along with his family after attending Sunday mass, he was attacked and one of his hands was chopped off by the accused.
For the Malayalam question paper, Joseph had selected a paragraph from a short story by CPI(M) leader PT Kunju Mohammed to test students on punctuation. In the story, a nameless villager questions god. When setting the question, Joseph had named this villager Mohammed. This had created a furore after a newspaper affiliated with the Jamaat-e-Islami sensationalised the issue by equating it with blasphemy.
In another such case, former Hindu Mahasabha leader Kamlesh Tiwari who spent months in jail for allegedly insulting Prophet Muhammad was brutally murdered by few radical Islamist in Lucknow in October this year. It was reported that arrested suspects Shamim, Faizan and Mohsin Sheikh had admitted of killing the Hindu leader over his remarks on Prophet Mohammad’s sexuality.