PFI Kerala leader questioned in the hand-chopping case

By Staff Correspondent,

Ernakulam: P Abdul Hameed, Kerala state secretary of the Popular Front of India, was yesterday questioned by the Special Investigation Team probing the hand-chopping case in Ernakulam. The state government yesterday informed the High Court that 49 persons were accused in the case among which only 19 have been arrested.

Mr Hameed was questioned in the Aluva police club on Tuesday from the morning till 7 pm, reportedly. The questioning was based on the police assumption that some of those who had taken part in the crime had contacted Hameed on phone after the attack. Hameed was at Erattupetta in Kottayam district on the day of the incident. The police also enquired whether the organisation’s leadership was aware of the incident.

The police have reportedly asked Nasarudheen Elamaram, PFI state president, to be present at the Muvattupuzha CI Office in relation with the case. Prof P Koya, chief editor of ‘Thejas’ daily and member of PFI supreme council, was questioned at the Aluva police club on Monday. ‘Thejas’ is the mouthpiece of the PFI.

Meanwhile, the state government yesterday informed the High Court that only 19 persons among the 49 accused have been arrested so far in the case. The rest are yet to be caught and they include those who have a direct involvement in the crime. The explanation of the government was given as the court was hearing the petitions submitted accusing police torture as part of the investigation. The government stated that no one would be tortured as part of the investigation. However the police would go on with the legal probe, informed PN Sukumaran, Additional Director General of Prosecution, in the court. The division bench comprising of Js KM Joseph and Js ML Joseph Francis put an end to further proceedings on the petition after documenting the explanation of the government.

The incidents that led to the hand-chopping took place in Ernakulam. Prof TJ Joseph, lecturer of Malayalam in the Newman College at Thodupuzha, had included matters insulting Prophet Muhammed in a question paper that he had set. The controversial question paper was fiercely criticised by the Kerala public and a resolution condemning it was passed by the Kerala Assembly. Joseph tried to escape from police when a blasphemy case was registered but was later arrested and imprisoned. The hand-chopping incident took place on July 4 at Muvattupuzha when he was on bail. A group of men chopped off his right palm in the presence of his family. He was soon rushed to a hospital and later his chopped off palm was fixed in a major surgery. All those people arrested by the police in connection with the case are suspected PFI activists. The police’s questioning of the leaders of is reportedly seen as a tactic to pressurize the organisation, forcing those accused yet to be caught to surrender before the police.