Prof attack: Probe extended to PFI daily

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on August 25, 2010

The Kerala Police have extended their probe into the July 4 Taliban-model attack on a college professor in Muvattupuzha to Thejas newspaper, the organ of Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI), whose activists are said to be behind the attack. This follows the police’s reported finding that some mobile phones registered in the name of the newspaper had been used by those behind the attack.

The police have sent a notice to Abdul Hameed, member of the director board of the newspaper and State general secretary of the PFI, seeking explanation on this. They would question P Usman, managing director of the newspaper at Muvattupuzha on Thursday in connection with the reported misuse of phones registered in the name of Thejas.

But sources in Thejas said they were prepared to face any kind of investigation in relation to the case of attack on the professor provided it was honest. They, however, complained that the present pattern of the probe generated the suspicion that it was part of a campaign against the Popular Front.

The police had even weeks back reportedly learned that some mobile phones of the newspaper had been used by some of the accused in the case of the attack on the professor. It is said that there are 36 mobile numbers registered in the name of Thejas. The police think that finding out who all had been using these numbers is crucial to the investigation.

Sources in the police said they had got indications in the very beginning of the investigation that mobile phones of Thejas newspaper could have been misused in connection with the attack. They claimed that when they called on some numbers revealed by the suspects during the interrogation the reply they got confirmed that those numbers belonged to the newspaper.

Investigators had asked P Koya, Thejas editor, about the details of these numbers and their holders when they questioned him on August 17 at Muvattupuzha and Aluva, but he had said the management people alone would know such things. The decision to seek explanation from Hameed was taken following this.

The police had already questioned – apart from Koya – Hameed and State PFI president Nazeeruddin Elamaram in connection with the attack on the professor. This step was taken on the basis of the police’s conviction that the State leadership of the organization had prior knowledge of the plan of its local unit’s plan to attack the professor.

Sources at Thejas said the mobile connections registered in the name of the newspaper had been given to employees as well as management representatives. It was impossible for any outsider to use these phones, they said. The police had asked questions in this connection to Koya and he had explained all this to them, they added.

TJ Joseph, Malayalam professor of Church-run Newman College in Thodupuzha, Idukki, was attacked by a group of seven suspected Popular Front activists for preparing a question paper that allegedly blasphemed Prophet Muhammad. Reports had said that professor’s right hand was cut off on a decree of a Taliban-model Sharia court.

Meanwhile, the police banned the protest march that BJP had planned to hold to Green Valley, a sprawling facility of the Popular Front near Manjeri, Malappuram on August 27. The District Superintendent of Police said that the ban was imposed on the basis of the assessment that any tension during the march could lead to communal friction.

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