Ten persons were sentenced to eight years in jail by a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Kochi on Friday. Their crime: They had chopped off the right hand of a professor who prepared a question paper allegedly containing profane references against Prophet Mohammed Nabi
The accused were charged with attempt to murder, conspiracy and sedition. The NIA had sought life term for all accused, but the court rejected its argument. The prosecutor said he was not happy with the verdict and will appeal to a higher court.
The court had found 13 people guilty in the case last week. While three accused would get a two-year jail term, the accused would also pay a penalty of Rs 8 lakh.
Five others accused in the case, including the kingpin, are on the run. Earlier, the court had acquitted 18 others for lack of evidence.
A lecturer of Malayalam literature at Newman College in Thodupuzha, TJ Joseph was allegedly attacked by Popular Front of India activists in July 2010 and his right palm was chopped off while he was returning home from church in Ernakulam district’s Muvattupuzha.
The attackers told him he was punished for the blasphemous undertones of a question that he had prepared. Joseph was on bail when he was attacked. He was arrested in April 2010 over the question that some Muslim groups claimed the question had an insulting reference to the Prophet.
While he was recuperating in the hospital, the college dismissed Joseph from his job for breach of discipline. Later, the court gave him a clean chit in the case filed against him for hurting religious sentiments.