Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Manoj Pradhan free to intimidate witnesses again

The Orissa High Court on Wednesday granted bail to Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Manoj Pradhan who was convicted in a Kandhamal communal riots case.

Pradhan, convicted by a fast track court at Phulbani on June 29 and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for seven years for his role in the killing of a Christian man during communal riots in Kandhamal in 2008, got conditional bail from the High Court.

The single judge bench of Justice B.P. Das, while granting bail to Pradhan, said the MLA would refrain from influencing witnesses in other cases pending against him.

At least six more cases, including three involving murder charges, are pending against Pradhan who had been acquitted in seven other cases.

Pradhan, however, could not be released from jail on Wednesday as he had to make a fresh bail petition in the lower court in Phulbani as per direction of the High Court, the BJP MLA’s lawyer Sarbeswar Behera said.

The BJP MLA from communally sensitive G. Udaygiri Assembly segment was sent to jail after the fast track court judge S.K. Das had pronounced the punishment for him and another person for their role in the killing of Parikhita Naik, a Christian from Budedi village near Tiangia under Raikia police station limit on August 27, 2008.

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Monday, July 05, 2010

Two persons held for attack on lecturer

Kochi, July 5 (PTI) Two persons including an activist of a fundamentalist Muslim outfit were arrested today in connection with the gruesome attack on a college lecturer whose right hand was chopped off for allegedly preparing a question paper with derogatory references to Prophet Mohammed.
Jaffar of Kothamangalam and Ashraff of Mekalady were taken into custody, police said. Ashraff is reportedly an activist of the Popular Front, a fundamentalist Muslim outfit.
T J Joseph (52), a Malayalam lecturer at Christian-run Newman college, was attacked at Muvattupuzha in the district yesterday while returning from a church along with his family, including his sister and mother after attending the Sunday mass.
His vehicle was stopped by a gang of seven persons armed with axe and sticks. They burst an explosive to scare people in the vicinity before chopping off Joseph's hand.


Fanatics chop off teachers hand in Kerala

Islamist radicals in India's southern state of Kerala chopped off the hand of a college lecturer who was accused of putting a derogatory reference to the Prophet Mohammed in an exam, a newspaper reports.

TJ Joseph was returning from a church service in the central Ernakulam district on Sunday when he was attacked in "a horrific instance of Talibanism," the Times of India said in its report.

"We had just got into our car when a van pulled up. Around eight people with swords and knives emerged and pulled out Joseph after smashing the windscreen," his sister Mary Stella, a nun, told the daily.

"They chopped off his right hand and stabbed him in the left thigh," she said, adding that the assailants fled after detonating bombs.

The 52-year-old lecturer was admitted in a private hospital where his condition was described as serious.

In March, Islamic groups held protests against Joseph over part of an exam for undergraduate commerce students. They claimed that a test question had insulted the prophet.

The question quoted director PT Kunjumuhammed discussing a scene from his film Garshom in which a dialogue appears between the Prophet Mohammed and God.

Two men, said to be activists of the religious Popular Front organisation, were arrested after the attack on Sunday.

Indian security officials said Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise in Kerala, where Muslims, Christians and Hindus have lived in amity for centuries.

Some analysts have warned that Kerala could emerge as a base for militants with radical Islamic organizations holding sway, particularly in the northern Malabar area.

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