The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has re-arrested KA Najeeb, one of the accused in the sensational Kerala professor's palm-chopping case. The case is from 2010 when Kerala professor TJ Josephâ€™s right palm was chopped off by activists of the Popular Front of India.
On Wednesday, the NIA recorded the re-arrest of 43-year-old Najeeb, a native of Aluva in Ernakulam district. The arrest was made after the Supreme Court stayed the Kerala High Court order to grant bail to the accused, who has been charged with provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Professor TJ Joseph was the faculty of the NewMans College at Thodupuzha in Idukki. He was attacked by the members of Popular Front of India, a radical Muslim group, alleging that one of his questions in an internal examination in the college had inflammatory remarks on Prophet Mohammed. On July 4, 2010, when the professor was returning home along with his family after attending Sunday mass, he was attacked and his right hand was chopped off by the accused.
For the Malayalam question paper, Joseph had selected a paragraph from a short story by CPI(M) leader PT Kunju Mohammed to test students on punctuation. In the story, a nameless village madcap questions god. When setting the question, Joseph had named him Mohammed. This had created a controversy after a newspaper affiliated with the Jamaat-e-Islami carried the news with prominence.
Najeeb, who was re-arrested by NIA is the 31st accused in the crime. He is a member of the Popular Front of India (PFA) and was chargesheeted by the NIA in 2013 for â€˜facilitating and conspiring lethal attack on Professor TJ Joseph, for allegedly making remarks on the Prophet.â€™
In 2015, NIA convicted 13 other accused persons in the case. Najeeb was initially arrested in 2015 from Coimbatore where he was hiding behind a false identity. In July 2019, Kerala HC granted him bail citing delay in the commencement of trials. Following this, NIA approached the Supreme Court, which then stayed the decision of the HC.
Najeeb has been booked under sections 16 (Punishment for terrorist act), 19 (Punishment for harbouring) and 20 (Punishment for being a member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA.
Najeeb has also been charged under IPC sections 143 (Unlawful assembly), 147 (Rioting), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 212 (Harbouring offender), 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint), 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 326 (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 506 (criminal intimidation), 153 A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 307 (Attempt to murder) read with 120 B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) and section three (Punishment for causing explosion likely to endanger life or property) of Explosives Substances Act.