Hand chopping case: Charge sheet filed against 27 accused

Police on Friday filed a charge sheet against 27 activists of the radical outfit Popular Front of India accusing them of attempt to murder and other offenses in the brutal attack on a private college lecturer for his offensive references to Prophet Mohammed in July last year.

The PFI activists had chopped off the right hand of the lecturer for setting a question paper with alleged derogatory references to Prophet Mohammed.

The accused, two of whom are absconding, have also been charged under various provisions of the Explosive Substances Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for their attack on Prof T J Joseph, which had triggered a national outrage.

The PFI activists are facing charges under IPC Sections 201 (causing disappearance of evidence), 202 (intentional omission to give information of offence), 212 (harbouring offender), 307 (attempt to murder), 143 (unlawful assembly), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 120(B) (Criminal conspiracy) and 323 (causing hurt).

The charge sheet was filed before the First Additional Sessions court, Ernakulam, V Shircy. The court had earlier issued Non-Bailable Warrant against 27 accused, who are yet to be arrested.

Of the total 54 accused in the case, the remaining 27 accused are absconding.

Joseph, Malayalam Head of the Department of the Private Newman college in Thodupuzha was attacked on July 4 when he was returning with his family members after a Sunday mass at a church near his home in Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district.

PFI Muslim radicals had accused Joseph of preparing a question paper for B.com semester students which reportedly had some references to Prophet Mohammed, considered blasphemous by them.

Joseph's hand was sutured back and he is still recovering from the injuries. The college authorities have terminated his services.

The case has been posted to Jan 18.

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