A church in Kerala on Saturday backed the action of a college to sack lecturer T.J. Joseph for preparing a controversial question paper that led to a brutal attack in which his right hand was chopped off allegedly by activists of radical Muslim outfit Popular Front of India.
Coming out in support of the church-run Newman college that faced a public outcry after its decision, the Dioceses at Kothamangalam in the state's Ernakulam district, in a pastoral letter to be read out in churches during Sunday mass, blamed Joseph for committing an "irresponsible act" and said the attack on the lecturer did not nullify the "crime" committed by him.
With the Catholic church justifying the college's action, Joseph has decided to approach the Mahatma Gandhi University Appellate Tribunal for remedial action to get his job back.
The Bishop of the Dioceses George Punnakottil said the college was accused of being an accomplice in hurting the religious feelings of Muslims, and its management had to take a decision to distance itself from the act of Joseph.
"We stand for secularism and we do not want to offend anybody," the Bishop said, adding that Joseph can approach the court, and the management would abide by the court's decision.
Joseph's sister Stella said he had decided to approach the tribunal for reinstating him.
"I do not want do anything against the Catholic church. But the college management is forcing me to go to the tribunal," Stella said quoting Joseph.
Even after getting his dismissal order, Joseph had written to the college management to pardon him.
"He has touched the feet of the Bishop and the manager of the college seeking pardon," she said.
Stella, a nun, said she had also met the Bishop on July 2, two days before the attack, on behalf of her brother.