Kerala, hand severed of Christian Professor accused of blasphemy
Ernakulam (AsiaNews) - A group of unknown assailants severed the hand and the right arm of a university professor accused of defaming Mohammed months ago. The execution took place yesterday morning in Muvattupuzha, Ernakulam district (Kerala). Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians condemns this "barbaric act" and recalls that "Sharia is not the law of India."
According to the police, Prof. TJ Joseph, was returning with his family from Sunday service when a group of people in a Maruti Omni van drew up beside him stopping him close to home. After forcing Joseph to get out of his car, they attacked him with knives and swords, then cut off his hand and right arm throwing them away after about 200 meters.
The professor was immediately transported to a hospital in Muvattupuzha and then to another specialized in surgery, where doctors are trying to mend his severed hand. The professor has also suffered deep wounds to his body and is in need of plastic surgery.
Joseph, Kerala, a professor at Newman's College, Thodupuzha, is free on bail. Last March he had prepared a questionnaire for examinations in the private college and according to the Muslims had included questions offensive to Muhammad.
Due to a series of protests by Islamic groups, he was suspended from school. Later, Joseph publicly apologized for his "unintentional error". Joseph's mother said that in recent months her son continued to receive threats.
Meanwhile, the police found the van of the attackers, empty, and "the vehicle registration number is false," said police inspector P.P. Shams. Some of the detained are activists of the Popular Front of India, a right wing Muslim group, formerly called the National Development Front, which is very strong in Kerala.
Joseph’s sister, Mary Stella, says that "the assailants destroyed the window of our car and pulled out my brother to execute him. My poor mother, who was in the car with us, witnessed the crime".
The Minister of Education, M.A. Baby has condemned the incident, expressing his displeasure because some have turned the issue of the exam questionnaire into a matter of religious conflict.
Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of India (Gcoi), condemned the "barbaric act" and demands that "the attackers are brought to justice soon. I hope that - as usually happens - the complaint will not disappear in police records because of threats from Islamic militants in Kerala. "
Sajan K. George gives voice to the whole civil society which "expresses sorrow for these attacks by Muslims against Christians in Kerala. It should be noted that Islamic law is not the law of our country”.According to the Gcoi president Kerala is witnessing a growth of Islamic extremism: "Christian schools are often targeted on the headscarf issue or another issue and unfortunately many schools succumb under pressure. The design of these militants is to provoke peaceful Christian communities and provoke a civil war. The rapid growth of the Muslim population and their influence in elections is increasing safety concerns for Christians throughout the country".
The attack against Joseph has been condemned by several Muslim organizations, including the Indian Union Muslim League (Iuml) and the Jama'at-e-Islami, which calls for a significant response against the culprits. Panakad Hyderali Shiyab Thangal, supreme leader of Iuml, has asked that the perpetrators be prosecuted harshly. And referring to the questionnaire compiled by Joseph, said: “An error can not be corrected by another mistake".
The indicted questionnaire however did not include anything that could be construed as against the Muslim religion. The authorities of Newman College, told AsiaNews that in the test, Prof. Joseph tells the story of a fishmonger who, despite hard work, becomes increasingly poor. The monger’s name is Mohammad In his desperation, he spoke to God and also asked his brother why his fortunes were dwindling. His brother told Mohammed:"Why are you calling God, God, God...." Students were asked to specify the punctuation of the narrative.