Five years after he went absconding, the chief conspirator who hatched the plan to chop off the hand of professor TJ Joseph has finally surrendered before the National Investigative Agency court (NIA) in Kochi, Kerala.
MK Nasser, a leader of the Popular Front of India and the chief conspirator according to the NIA chargesheet, surrendered on Friday.
In May 2015, the NIA court had handed out a sentence of eight years to Popular Front of India (PFI) activists convicted of chopping off Kerala professor TJ Joseph’s hand nearly five years ago.
Ten PFI activists were sentenced to eight years of rigorous imprisonment for chopping off the professor's hand on July 4, 2010 in retaliation for his “blasphemous act”, according to them.
Observing that three other convicts had helped others to escape, the judge pronounced a two-year sentence for them.
Joseph was a lecturer at Newman College in Thodupuzha, Idukki district. Joseph had selected a passage to test students on punctuation from a short story by CPI(M) leader PT Kunju Mohammed. In the story, a nameless village madcap questions God. When setting the question, Joseph had named him Mohammed, which sparked a controversy when a newspaper affiliated with the Jamaat-e-Islami carried the news prominently, stating that the professor had purposefully defamed the Prophet.
The court had said that the offence committed by the convicts was not pardonable.
When the police filed an FIR, 37 people had been named. But six people – five of them, main accused including Nasser– had been absconding and their names had not been included in the chargesheet.