Prof attack: It was NDF job, admits accused

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi published on July 25, 2010

Yunus, an accused in the case of the July 4 attack on Prof TJ Joseph of Muvattupuzha, has confessed to the police that the attack was carried out by none other than Islamist Popular Front of India (formerly NDF) even as yet another activist of the outfit was arrested. Rejecting the theory that the assailants were hoodlums hired by the Popular Front, he said that all the perpetrators were the outfit’s activists.

According to police sources, Yunus, arrested on Wednesday from Palakkad, told the interrogators that the Popular Front had tried to attack the professor three times earlier. Once a team of assailants had reached his house in Muvattupuzha with the objective but they could not carry out the attack as he was not there, he said.

Attacks were planned on two other occasions as well but these too failed due to various reasons, he told the police. The plan during the second and third attempts was to attack Joseph by bike-mounted teams, he said. It was after these failed attempts, the outfit decided to carry out the attack when the professor was returning home from the church after Sunday Mass.

Yunus told the police that the team that reached Muvattupuzha in a Maruti Omni vehicle to attack the professor had seven assailants and all of them were Popular Front activists. The attack was planned much in advance and the Ernakulam district committee of the outfit had known about it, he said. Earlier, there were reports that even the State committee of the Popular Front had known of the plan.

According to Yunus, the chief conspirator and mastermind of the attack on the professor was first accused Nasser of Kothamangalam, a local leader of the Popular Front. Yunus said his role was to organize the activists who would carry out the attack. The role of KK Ali, another accused, was limited to the purchase of the vehicle, he said.

Nasser and Ali are yet to be arrested while Yunus would remain in the custody of the police till August 3. The Popular Front had allegedly attacked Joseph, a Malayalam professor of Church-run Newman College, Thodupuzha, for preparing a question paper that reportedly blasphemed Prophet Muhammad.

The Muvattupuzha police on Saturday arrested Popular Front activist Sikhander of Kizhakkekkara, who had allegedly prepared the sketches of Prof Joseph’s house and the route of his return home from the Church. Sikhander was taken into custody on Friday on the basis of the revelations of Yunus but his arrest was recorded on Saturday.

Meanwhile, reports alleged that efforts were on in the top level of the Home Department to derail the investigation. Though Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Inspector General of Police (Central Zone) B Sandhya have rejected the reports as baseless, sources say that the investigation has already lost steam.

Action revoked

PNS/Kottayam: A meeting of the Mahatma Gandhi University on Saturday decided to revoke the action it had taken against Malayalam professor TJ Joseph of Newman College, Thodupuzha, whose right hand was cut off allegedly by Popular Front activists for preparing a question paper in last March. The Syndicate decided to reinstate his academic approval, which had been cancelled after the question paper controversy broke out, following the apology he offered. Joseph is presently undergoing treatment at a Kochi hospital after a hand-reconstruction surgery.

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