Prof Joseph, “illegally” fired for blasphemy
A union at Mahatma University wants Catholic-run Newman College to re-hire professor who lost his job because he “offended” the sentiments of the population with words deemed offensive to Muhammad. For this, unknown attackers chopped off his hand.
By Nirmala Carvalho
09/10/2010 India (AsiaNews) – A Union at Mahatma University, to which the Newman College of Thodupuzha (Kerala) is affiliated, called the dismissal of Prof T.J. Joseph illegal, and demanded he be re-hired forthwith.
In a press release, the Union said, “The College failed to follow procedures in dismissing Professor Joseph. The college should rethink about his ouster”.
Prof Joseph, who headed the Department of Malayalam, had submitted an exam questionnaire to his students, but some Muslim students objected to some of the questions, claiming that they contained words offensive to Muhammad.
After he explained that he had no intention of offending, he offered his public apologies to the population, the College, Church authorities (the institution is run by Catholics) and the police department. However, on 4 July, he was attacked by activists of the Popular Front of India who chopped off a hand and part of his arm.
On 1 September, the Catholic college fired him, claiming he had offended the religious sentiments of the population, and justified its action by saying that it had to protect the secular character of the institution.