After losing right hand to PFI, Kerala teacher loses job

Exactly two months after his right palm was chopped off by activists of the Popular Front of India for insulting the Prophet in a question paper, lecturer T J Joseph was on Saturday removed from service by Kothamangalam Catholic diocese which runs the college.

Fr Thomas Malekudy, manager of Newman College, Thodupzuah, where Joseph had been a selection grade senior lecturer at the Department of Malayalam, communicated the decision to remove him from service after an in-house inquiry. Soon after the question paper controversy erupted in last March, the management had suspended Joseph from service pending an inquiry.

"The management was forced to dismiss him because he failed to withdraw the question paper, which insulted the Prophet. It is up to the Muslim community to forgive Joseph for his crime. If the Muslim community exonerates him, we will think about taking him back. He is also free to move the court," said Fr Malekudy.

Reacting to the development, senior CPM leader and Education Minister M A Baby said the management decision was outrageous. It had gone overboard in punishing the lecturer who had already suffered too much. The lecture could move the university tribunal against the dismissal, he added.

Mahatma Gandhi University Registrar Prof M V Unni said the decision was most unfortunate in the context of the ongoing developments. "The management should not have punished the teacher in this manner although as the appointing authority has every right to remove him from service."

While the dismissal notice was served at his house at Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district, Joseph was away in a Kochi hospital undergoing physiotherapy. "I am really shocked; at a loss what to do. The attack had devastated me emotionally, socially and economically. I can't even think of taking a legal recourse at this stage. If the attack resulted in my body suffering 24 wounds, the management decision is a dagger shoved into my heart," he said.

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