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Solved the problem. I had to use the source_list parameter of the joint_state_publisher <rosparam param="source_list">["hand_model/joint_states"]</rosparam>. The following post helped me: Subscribe to new JointState messaes

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<launch>

   <node name="joint_state_publisher" pkg="joint_state_publisher" type="joint_state_publisher">
        <rosparam param="source_list">["hand_model/joint_states"]</rosparam>
   </node>

   <node name="robot_state_publisher" pkg="robot_state_publisher" type="state_publisher"/>
   <node name="hand_model" pkg="sensor_models" type="hand_node" output="screen"/>

   <node name="rviz" pkg="rviz" type="rviz"  required="true" />

</launch>