The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has claimed to have arrested two sisters of slain Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri, who was killed in an airstrike in Beirut earlier this month.
A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Kochi on Thursday awarded life imprisonment to three convicts in the sensational 2010 Prof TJ Joseph hand-chopping case.
Three others, who were convicted by the court on Wednesday, were sentenced to three years of imprisonment under various charges.
The three sentenced to life imprisonment are: second accused Sajil (36), third accused M K Nasar (46) and fifth accused K A Najeeb (42).
While convicting the three, the court noted that the second accused Sajil had directly participated in the attack and was part of a terrorist gang constituted for the purpose, while third accused Nasar, who was the main conspirator in the case, and fifth accused Najeeb had planned the terrorist act but did not take part in it.
Three-year jail term has been awarded to the other three convicts – P P Moideen Kunju (60), M K Naushad (48) and P M Ayoob (48). All the convicts were directed by the court to pay a fine of Rs 4 lakh together to the victim.
The NIA court, on Wednesday, found six of the 11 accused persons guilty in the 2010 case.
Some of the accused were also held guilty of offences under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).The court, however, acquitted five other accused- Aseez Odakkali, Muhammad Rafi, Subair, Shefieq and Mansoor for want of evidence in the case.
Right hand of T J Joseph, professor at Newman College at Thodupuzha in Kerala’s Idukki district, was chopped off allegedly by activists of now-banned Popular Front of India (PFI) while he was returning home with his family after attending a Sunday mass at a church in Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district on July 4, 2010.
According to investigation agency, it was the reference to Prophet Muhammad in one of the question papers for B. Com exams in 2010 March set by Prof. Joseph that provoked the accused to attack the teacher.
In the first phase, 31 accused had faced trial and of them, the court had in April 2015 convicted 10 for offences under the UAPA as well as the Explosive Substances Act and the IPC and found three others guilty of harbouring the offenders. The court had acquitted 18 other accused in the case then.
The main accused, Ashamannur Sawad, who is said to have chopped off the Prof Joseph’s hand as per the NIA chargesheet, is still absconding.
Responding to the sentencing, Prof T J Joseph, the victim in the case, said the verdict only quelled his curiosity. He said he is not much bothered about the verdict as it is only a court procedure.
“It doesn’t affect me what form of punishment is handed to the convicts. Let legal experts discuss if the punishment is small or big. The court has pronounced its verdict and I have no feelings about it. I am an ordinary citizen, and I was attacked in the name of some primitive beliefs. That’s over. I have already endured the suffering and pain and I have no interest if anyone’s punished or tortured in my name,.” Prof. Joseph said
He further said that the government is bound to give compensation to him as there was a serious lapse in giving protection to his life.
“The government has the responsibility to protect me. Police protection was given to me only after the attack. I had approached the police thrice when the convicts attempted to attack me. But no action was taken over my complaint. So, there was a serious lapse from the part of the authorities,” he said.