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Blasphemy case: Prof Joseph approaches tribunal against dismissal

By TwoCircles.net Staff Correspondent,

Thiruvananthapuram: Prof TJ Joseph who was dismissed from the Newman College in Thodupuzha following a blasphemy case approached the tribunal against his dismissal. The petition filed at the University Appellate Tribunal reportedly says that Prof Joseph was denied natural justice as the dismissal order was made without hearing him.

Prof Joseph, in the petition, reportedly denied the allegation that he had set the controversial question paper with malafide intentions to hurt a particular community. The Tribunal under P Muraleedharan is expected to sit for a hearing in the case today. The college management had earlier itself sent a caveat notice to the Tribunal asking it not to take any decision without hearing its version.

Professor Joseph, lecturer of Malayalam, is accused to have prepared a question paper with derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammed. When the issue became controversial, the college management and the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council apologized for the deed committed by the professor. Professor Joseph went into hiding when a blasphemy case was registered. But later, he was arrested by the police and then released on bail. Joseph was then attacked by a group of men on July 4 and his right palm was chopped off. The gruesome incident took place in front of his house in Muvattupuzha in the presence of his mother and sister. Joseph had to undergo a major surgery to fix his palm back. Certain members of the Popular Front of India were arrested in connection with the attack. The investigation and arrests are still going on.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the blasphemy case was going on from the party of the college management which informed Prof Joseph of his dismissal from service on September 1 on grounds that he had hurt the religious sentiments of a particular community. The decision of the college attracted mixed response. The left parties and even some ministers criticised the decision harshly. However, the college authorities justified their action maintaining it was necessary to assert the secular credentials of the institution run y the Church. The college manager informed the media that Prof Joseph was given several opportunities to repent, but he not only refused it but also justified his act.

Prof Joseph has now submitted a plea challenging the decision of the college with the support of some teachers’ organizations supported by the left parties.