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Islamists jailed for chopping of teacher's hand 'because exam paper insulted Prophet Mohamed'

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A group of Islamists who cut off a teacher’s hand in revenge for “blasphemy” against the Prophet Mohamed have been jailed in India.

The 13 men, all members of radical group the Popular Front of India, were handed sentences of between three and eight years at a National Investigative Agency court, NDTV reported.

They had been found guilty of involvement in the attack on TJ Joseph, a professor at Newman College in the town of Thodupuzha, Kerala.

He was on his way home from a Catholic church service in July 2010 with his mother and sister when their car was stopped.

“As the car was locked from inside, they broke the glass and pulled me out,” he told NDTV. “The attackers injured me all over and severed my right hand.”

He was taken to hospital, where doctors managed to re-attach the hand in several rounds of surgery.

The gang claimed to be seeking retribution for alleged insults against the Prophet Mohamed in an exam paper Mr Joseph had set four months before.

As part of a test for his Bachelor of Commerce students at the Christian college, he had given them a passage from a film screenplay in Malayalam language for them to correctly punctuate.

Reportedly taken from a state languages book citing the 1999 film Garshom, it featured an imaginary conversation between a character called Muhammed and God, who called him a “son of a b****” and a “dog”, according to one translation.

Mr Joseph said he named the character after film director P. T. Kunju Muhammed and did not realise the people would associate the common name with the Muslim Prophet.

But a local newspaper did a story on the question paper, sparking controversy , protests and allegations of blasphemy in the community.

Police arrested the professor for “outraging religious feelings”, although he was later acquitted of all charges, and Newman College suspended him from work.

Death threats started almost immediately and Mr Joseph said he escaped three attempted attacks before his hand was hacked off.

He was not invited back to work until November 2013 and his wife killed herself months later, after seeking treatment for stress and depression.

The 13 men jailed in relation to the attack were handed a fine of Rs. 8 lakh (£8,130) by judge P Sasidharan, which will be given to Mr Joseph as compensation.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Poor man; poor family; utterly inadequate recompense.

06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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