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Bishop calls lecturer's action irresponsible

Staff Reporter

Pastoral letter against lecturer read out in 120 churches


Lecturer says he did nothing wrong

Letter justifies dismissal of lecturer


Kochi: A pastoral letter condemning the “irresponsible action” of lecturer T.J. Joseph, whose hand was hacked allegedly by radical activists, was on Sunday read out during the mass in 120 parish churches under the Kothamangalam Dioceses in Ernakulam district.

Coming out against the lecturer, whose is still recovering from the double blow of losing his hand and job, Kothamanagalm dioceses bishop George Punnakottil said the attack did not nullify the “crime” committed by Mr. Joseph. Such an “irresponsible” act could not be expected from the lecturer.

Mr. Joseph on Sunday said he had not done anything wrong to apologise to the church and accepts “favours” from it. “I have not done anything wrong. I am a religious person and respect all religions. Knowingly I have not hurt any religious community. Why is the church asking to me apologise?”

Mr. Joseph was attacked on July 4 in an apparent retaliation for preparing a question paper with alleged derogatory reference to Prophet Mohammed.

Management stance

The pastoral letter said the college was accused of being an accomplice in hurting religious feelings of Muslims. So the management had to take a decision to distance itself from the act of the lecturer, it said.

The letter also supported the management of church-run Newman College for sacking him on the ground that he had hurt the religious sentiments of a community.

Despite his repeated pleas for pardon, the management has refused to budge and even ignored the directive of Mahatma Gandhi University which had asked the college to reinstate him saying its action was “naked violation” of relevant rules.

The bishop in his pastoral letter said the aggrieved lecturer could approach the court to redress his grievance and the management would abide by the decision.

The lecturer has decided to approach the University Appellate Tribunal for his reinstatement as his pleas to the college management to reconsider its decision has fallen into deaf ears.

“We have no other choice,” Stella, his sister, who is a nun, said on Saturday, adding, the family is “upset and scared” with the letter being read out in the churches. – PTI

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