KOCHI: In a brutal incident, a gang of unidentified persons on Sunday chopped off the right palm of Thodupuzha Newman College lecturer T J Joseph who was under suspension for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of the Muslim community.
Police said the incident occurred near the Nirmala School ground at Thodupuzha around 9 am when Joseph was returning home from church along with his mother and sister in a car.
“A gang of five persons came in a Maruti van and blocked the car near Joseph’s residence. He was dragged out of the car and hacked with sharp weapons by the gang.
Later, they fled the scene in the van after creating a scare and smokescreen by exploding bombs. Jospeh also suffered injuries on his left hand and both the legs. He was rushed to a nearby hospital from where he was shifted to a private hospital in Kochi,” said Muvattapuzha DySp Sabu Mathew.
The gang threw away the chopped palm. It was taken to the hospital in Kochi where the doctors carried out a surgery to reset it.
The DySP said a special team was formed to investigate the incident and nab the criminals. “We have taken a vehicle into custody from Thodupuzha suspected to be used by the criminals. Two suspected NDF workers are also taken into custody for interrogation in connection with the incident,” he said.
Ernakulam range IG B Sandhya and Ernakulam rural SP T Vikram reached the spot to take stock of the situation.
Additional police force were deployed in Thodupuzha town to prevent any untoward incident.
Joseph, a Malayalam lecturer, was arrested in April after the question paper which he had set for the BCom II year internal exams sparked protests by Muslim outfits which claimed a reference to Prophet Mohammed in it had hurt their religious sentiments. He was later suspended from the college.