A circular against teacher TJ Joseph, whose right palm was chopped off by radical Muslim activists, was on Sunday read out in 155 churches in Kerala that defended his dismissal from college. Joseph, however, said he was being wronged by the church.
The Kothamangalam diocese of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church, which runs the Thodupuzha New Man College, came out with a circular to its faithful defending Joseph's dismissal. Issued by head of the diocese Bishop George Punakottil, it said that the decision to sack Joseph came after detailed inquiry.
The circular, which was read out Sunday morning in 155 churches of the diocese, said that it has come to light that Joseph purposely made the question paper and carried important parts of the show cause notice issued to him and his reply.
It also said that the Church's public standing took a severe blow due to Joseph's action.
Joseph's right palm was chopped off in July by activists of Popular Front of India (PFI), outraged at the inflammatory reference to Prophet Mohammed in a question paper he prepared for second year B.Com students in an internal examination of his college.
While Joseph was convalescing at his home near Muvattupuzha, after a more than a month's stay at a hospital in Kochi where his severed palm was stitched back, the college last week sent him a letter of dismissal on "disciplinary grounds".
This latest circular from the church was read out in Joseph's parish at Muvattupuzha as well, prompting him to say that what the church was doing was wrong.
"I have already apologised for what I did but the church wants me to apologise and say that I purposely did this. Since I have never done anything purposely, I will not apologise. The church is behaving with me in a very wrong manner," Joseph tols reporters at his home in Muvattupuzha.
State Education Minister MA Baby and the Mahatma Gandhi University syndicate (under whose jurisdiction Joseph's college falls) have publicly criticised the college management for dismissing him from service.
Joseph has said that he would soon be seeking legal recourse if the college management did not reconsider its decision.