A special NIA court on Wednesday convicted six persons in a 2010 case in which the right palm of a college professor in Kerala was chopped off for setting an allegedly blasphemous question for an internal examination.
Professor T.J. Joseph’s left leg suffered multiple injuries as one of the assailants used an axe on him. Three fingers of the left hand were left hanging from their skin, while the right palm was totally severed from the arm. They were surgically sutured back in place although he lost much of the ability in his right hand.
Special NIA court judge Anil K. Bhaskar found Sajil, M.K. Nasar, Najeeb K.A., Naushad, Moideen Kunju and Ayoob guilty of their involvement in the conspiracy hatched by the leaders of the now-banned Popular Front of India (PFI).
M.K. Nasar. File photo
The main accused, Sawad, who allegedly chopped off the professor’s palm, is still absconding.
Five others — Shafeeq, Azeez, Zubair, Mohammed Rafi and Mansoor — were acquitted. Thirteen others were found guilty in 2015.
The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on Thursday.
The PFI that was banned last year gained notoriety after the gory incident that left Joseph battling for his life.
The trigger for the attack was a question paper Joseph had set for his students at Newman College in Thodupuzha of Idukki district in March 2010.
After much protests and a police case, the college authorities had allegedly washed their hands of the controversy, leaving Joseph to fend for himself.
Although he was provided police security, the assailants eventually caught up with Joseph on July 4, 2010 while he was driving back with his family from a Sunday morning church service.
The professor survived the brutal attack after multiple surgeries and prolonged medical care. He narrated the sequence of events in a Malayalam book titled Attupokatha Ormakal (Memories That Don’t Sever) in Malayalam in 2020. Its English version A Thousand Cuts was released the next year.
Najeeb K.A. File photo
Joseph said on Wednesday after the verdict: “I have no interest in punishing these accused. I have only the normal curiosity as an ordinary citizen of India about how the case has been decided.”
He said all those who were arrested and jailed were mere weapons of the real culprits.“The real culprits are those who take such decisions based on primitive beliefs to carry out such violent and inhuman acts. They are still hiding somewhere.”
“It is such primitive beliefs that should be removed first. Even those who are yet to be arrested are victims of such primitive beliefs and they should be reformed to become modern human beings,” he said.