Muvattupuzha, (Kerala): A college professor, currently on bail for preparing a inflammatory question paper, had his right palm chopped off by a group of eight unidentified people on Sunday morning, police said.
T J Joseph was returning home with his family after attending morning prayers when a group of people in a van pulled him out of his car. Joseph's right palm was chopped off and thrown some 200 meters away, police said.
He also suffered deep cuts on the body and was rushed to a specialty hospital at Kochi for a surgery to reattach the severed palm.
Joseph is on bail after being arrested by the police in April for preparing a question paper with alleged inflammatory references to Prophet Mohammed for an exam in a private college.
Joseph, a Malayalam teacher, was suspended by Thodupuzha New Man College after angry protest marches by various Muslim organisations.
"The registration number of the vehicle in which the assailants came is fake. The immediate provocation of this crime appears to be the question paper issue," said P P Shams, Muvattupuzha Circle Inspector of Police.
A horrified Mary Stella, Joseph's sister, said: "They (accused) smashed the glass of our car and pulled my brother out and hacked him. Our aged mother was also in the car and witnessed the crime."
Condemning the gruesome crime, Education Minister M A Baby lamented that some people had communalised the question paper issue.
"Without doubt, this crime is a blot on the secular credentials of the state" Baby said.
Supreme head of the Indian Union Muslim League, Panakad Hyderali Shiyab Thangal said that one wrong cannot be corrected by another wrong. "Whoever are the culprits, tough action should be taken against them," Thangal said.