Thiruvananthapuram: Another prominent church in Kerala today backed the dismissal of lecturer T J Joseph, who lost his hand in a gruesome attack by a radical group, but said he can seek a "lenient" approach by expressing regret or exploring legal means.
Syro Malanakara Catholic Church (SMC) head major Archbishop Mar Baseliose Cleemis said the action against the lecturer was taken as the question paper prepared by him had
hurt the sentiments of a major section in the society.
At the same time, he said the Church had outrightly condemned the attack on Joseph, allegedly by activists of Popular Front of India. "Preserving communal and social harmony is not the concern of the church alone. It is something that concerns all the sections of the Kerala society," Cleemis said.
Joseph, a lecturer in the church-run Newman College, was attacked on July 4 in an apparent retaliation for preparing the question paper with alleged derogatory reference
to Prophet Mohammad.
Newman College at Thodupuzha, from where Joseph was dismissed, comes under the Kothamangalam Diocese of Syro Malabar Catholic Church. Justifying the issuance of a circular by Kothamangalam bishop on the issue, which was read out in churches under the diocese yesterday, Cleemis said it was essential to explain as to why the college management took the disciplinary action against Joseph.
However, there was an earlier circular issued by the same diocese condemning the attack on Joseph, which was brought out in July, soon after the incident. These two circulars should be read together to understand the view of the church on the issue in its true erspective, he said.
The dioceses circular condemning the "irresponsible action" of Joseph was read out during the Sunday mass in 120 parish churches under the Kothamangalam Dioceses in Ernakulam district yesterday.
Reacting to the circular, Joseph had stated yesterday that he had not done anything wrong to apologise to the church and accepts "favours" from it. Joseph said he had decided to approach the University Appellate Tribunal for his reinstatement.