KOCHI: Even as seven years have passed after the brutal attack by religious fundamentalists on T J Joseph following a ‘blasphemous’ reference in the question paper of a class test, the victim is seeking the attention of the state government for the reimbursement of his medical expenses. Though the former Malayalam teacher of Newman College, Thodupuzha, had sent the bills along with applications it bounced back five times citing shortcomings from the departments.
“I am confident this can be resolved by the Chief Minister,” Joseph told Express. “In fact, I went to meet him at the Secretariat. However, I could not meet him as he went out for some meeting. I am not in a position to make frequent visits to Thiruvananthapuram as my 89-year-old mother is a dementia patient.”
Though the medical expenses after the attack on July 4, 2010, amounts to C12 lakh, he could claim only C4 lakh. The application has to reach the Health Department after passing various points.
“I have to submit it to the college authorities who will send it to the Deputy Director of Collegiate Education in Ernakulam. From there, it will go to the Directorate of Collegiate Education and it will be submitted to the Health Department. In case of any inadequacy, it will take a year for it to return through the proper channel,” said the 60-year-old.
There was an issue as the bills were of a private hospital. According to the rule, in case of treatment from a private hospital, it needs an OP certificate from a government hospital with a certificate stating there was no treatment available at the particular government hospital. “However, it was not possible in my case to get such a certificate. So it needed a government order considering it as a special case,” he said.
The hand of Joseph was cut off at the wrist by an eight-member gang as punishment for committing ‘blasphemy’. A neighbour rushed Joseph to a nearby hospital where first aid was administered, while the severed hand was packed in ice. Joseph was taken to another hospital in Kochi where he underwent an operation lasting 16 hours.