Kerala stunned by revelations on Marad massacre

via Pioneer News Service | Kochi published on September 27, 2006

The contents of the judicial commission report on the 2003 Marad massacre which was tabled in the Kerala Assembly on Wednesday have come as a shock to sociologists, common people and right-thinking politicians in the State.



The commission’s unambiguous indications on the involvement of some Muslim League leaders and the role of the radical Islamist organisation, NDF, have given rise to fears of their presence in the Kerala political set-up.


Justice Thomas P Joseph Commission has categorically stated that NDF’s local leadership had planned and executed the May 3, 2003 carnage in which nine fishermen were hacked to death.


Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan – after tabling the report in the Assembly – said the Government had recommended a CBI enquiry to the Marad massacre on the basis of the report.


Observers have been surprised by the report’s finding which has mentioned that the then UDF government under AK Antony had mysteriously failed to recommend a CBI probe into the incident.


They also express shock at the commission’s revelation that then industries minister PK Kunhalikutty was not in favour of such a probe.


The report has criticised the then Kozhikode district administration for its inaction and was hard on then district collector TO Sooraj, former city police commissioner Sanjeev Padjoshi, assistant commissioner of police, south, Abdul Rahim and then Crime Branch IG Mahesh Kumar Singla.


The commission has also recommended probe into the conduct of Singla who had headed the Crime Branch enquiry into the incident. The commission states in its report that the Crime Branch had not conducted a proper enquiry into the presence of huge cache of arms and ammunition on the site of the incident as also the source of funds for conducting such a massive operation.


“All these revelations are indicative of the damaging levels our democratic and secular process has reached. There is no reason to disbelieve a judicial panel and so we have to face it,” said a cultural leader.


Observers are of the opinion that the commission report has clearly indicted the Antony Government for not conducting a proper and impartial enquiry into the massacre which had ramifications on the social psyche of the State.


“This incident can be considered one of the major communal massacres the State had ever seen. The Government sat on it without conducting a detailed and thorough probe by a Central agency. Such a probe could have given a clearer picture of the conspiracy. It seems that there was a deliberate attempt on the part of the then UDF government to conceal something,” he said.


In the first Marad communal killings on January 2 and 3, 2002 there were five deaths. Among the dead, three were Muslims and two Hindus. If what the commission says in its report is true, despite trying to cool the atmosphere, the political parties had tried to foment trouble and this resulted in the carnage of 2003 in which the Hindu community was pointedly targeted, said an observer.


The Kozhikode district administration and the government in power in the State then failed miserably as there were intelligence reports of an imminent danger and the Antony government either ignored the Intelligence warnings or was not serious on such report.


“There is no point in Anotnoy’s argument that the government under him succeeded in containing the situation. After a gruesome massacre in which nine people were chopped and hacked to death, how can a politician say that he could contain violence?” asked a former Congress functionary.




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