Lecturer attack: Dioceses support expulsion



Kochi: Justifying the action of the church run Newman college management to sack Prof TJ Joseph, for allegedly preparing a question paper which hurt the sentiments of a community, the Kothamanagalam Bishop has issued a pastoral letter which would be read out in the churches during Sunday mass tomorrow.

The letter, however, states that aggrieved lecturer can approach the court to redress his grievance and the management would abide by the court's decision.

Prof Joseph was brutally attacked by the activists of radical outfit, Popular Front of India (PFI) for preparing the questioning paper by hacking his right arm. The lecturer, who was suspended by the management as controversy broke regarding the question paper, is yet to recover completely from the attack on July 4 as he was returning home from church with his family after Sudnay mass.

In the letter, Bishop of Kothamanagalam dioceses George Punnakottil said the attack does not nullify the 'crime' committed by Joseph. Such an 'irreresponsbile' act cannot be expected from the lecturer. The college was accused of being an accomplice in hurting the religious feelings of the Muslim community. So the management had to take a decision to distance itself from the act of the lecturer, it said.

'We stand for secularism and we do not want to offend anybody', the bishop said.

The letter gives a clear message to the community that the college will not tolerate any action to wound the religious feelings of another community.

Meanwhile, police arrested and removed about 30 activists of the Joint Christian Council, an anti church forum, who took out a procession at Kothamanagalam in Ernakulam district demanding the reinstatement of Prof Joseph.

Though the activists first tried to take out the march from the RC Cathedral, the church did not permit the same. They then took out the march from a little distance away and raised slogans against the church and sought re-instatement of Prof Joseph, police sources said.

PTI