The National Investigation Agency (NIA) apprehended the prime accused in the hand-chopping case of Professor T J Joseph on January 10. The accused, identified as Savad, was allegedly associated with the Popular Front of India (PFI), an outlawed Islamic outfit. The terrorist attack occurred on July 4, 2010, when Savad, who had been on the run for the past thirteen years, targeted Prof T J Joseph. The professor, working at Newman College in Thodupuzha, Idukki district, was attacked by a group of Islamic terrorists wielding axes, swords, and daggers. The assault was in retaliation for the alleged blasphemy of the Prophet in a question paper prepared by Prof Joseph for the college students.
As a result, he faced termination from his teaching position, marking the onset of a calamitous period in his life. The loss of income inflicted significant distress on his wife, leading her to commit suicide on March 3, 2014.
Authorities have been making efforts to apprehend Savad ever since the terrorist attack occurred. Speculation circulated that Savad had fled to Pakistan or Afghanistan, prompting the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to conduct international investigations. Initially initiated by the Kerala Police, the case was later taken over by the NIA on March 9, 2011, underscoring the gravity of the situation. The accused individuals faced charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The terrorist assault on Professor Joseph instilled fear in the minds of Kerala residents, sparking extensive and profound discussions on terrorism within the State.
Kerala Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) State President K Surendran claimed that religious extremists flourish significantly in the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM)’s ‘party villages.’ He asserted that the primary accused in Joseph Master’s hand-chopping case had been leading a content life in Mattannur, Kannur district, for thirteen years, indicating Kerala as a sanctuary for terrorists.
Mattannur stands as a stronghold for the CPM in the State. The BJP leader accused the Kerala Government of having policies supportive of terrorists, emphasising that the State has become a safe haven for them. He criticized the Kerala Police for their inability to locate the terrorist for over a decade, suggesting a lack of police efficiency. Surendran alleged that terrorists receive local support, pointing out Kannur district as a hotspot for ISIS recruitment, and accused the CPM of backing terrorists for vote bank politics.
This journal has been alleging that CPM always maintains an anti-Hindutva stand. It turns helpful to the terrorists, observers opine.