Indian teacher gains blasphemy acquittal

India – A Catholic in Kerala whose hand was cut off by Muslims who accused him of blasphemy has been acquitted of the charge after three years fighting for justice.

Professor T.J. Joseph had been targeted when he set a test for his students in which the Prophet Mohammed was listed in a sentence with a dog, which some Muslims found offensive. When a local newspaper reported the case, Professor Joseph was set upon and had his hand cut off in what his lawyer described as the first “Taliban-style” incident in Kerala. The teacher was arrested on suspicion of blasphemy and subsequently lost his job.

Now a court has accepted Joseph’s argument that there was no intent to insult Islam and removed all charges. While the professor said the verdict was “a relief”, his school has refused to reinstate him in order to maintain religious harmony.