Marad massacre: Is UDF readiness for CBI probe an eyewash?

published on September 7, 2012

 The decision of Kerala’s Congress-led ruling UDF to ask its own Government to institute a CBI probe into the Marad massacre of 2003, in which eight Hindus were killed, after refusing to consider that demand for nine years has prompted the Opposition and critics to dub it as an eyewash aimed at protecting the Muslim League.

After a UDF meeting on Thursday, its convener PP Thankachan had said that the recommendation for the CBI probe was being made as per the wish of the Muslim League which had so far been accused of making efforts to block a probe by a Central agency into the massacre at Marad fishing village on the night of May 3, 2003, in which a Muslim also had lost life.

However, legal experts who have studied the Marad massacre case extensively suspect the ruling front’s intention behind proposing a CBI probe into the incident after such a long time. “The question coming up now is why the Congress or the UDF had not tried to institute such an investigation so far,” said a senior lawyer of the Kerala High Court.

Legal experts are of the opinion that a CBI probe at this stage might complicate the case further if it is carried out without the right focus. Such a probe should confine to aspects like the larger conspiracy behind the incident, role of external forces and sources of funds and weapons and that is what the judicial commission which examined the massacre had recommended, they say.

However, the intention of the Muslim League and therefore the UDF also allegedly is to bring the Marad 1 riot of January 3-4, 2002 also under the purview of a CBI probe so that the focus is lost.  “There is no need of this. Nobody had expressed any suspicion about a conspiracy or external interference in the case of Marad 1,” said the High Court lawyer.

There have been attempts to interpret the 2003 massacre as a “reaction” to the Marad 1 incident in which three Hindus and two Muslims were killed. However, no evidences to prove this link have ever been found whereas the Justice Thomas P Joseph Commission which looked into the massacre had found clear indications of a larger conspiracy behind Marad 2.

The Crime Branch of the Kerala Police in its FIR registered in 2010 had reportedly named Muslim League’s State  secretary MC Mayin Haji and its Beypore area secretary PP Moideen Koya as suspects in crimes that came under Sections 302 (homicide), 120b (criminal conspiracy) and 109 (incitement for violence) of the IPC in the Marad massacre.

There were allegations that the UDF Government had removed the head of the Crime Branch investigation team as he had collected crucial evidences against the two Muslim League leaders after extensive probe. Leaders of the Islamist outfit, Popular Front of India and members of a Marad mosque committee also had been included as suspects in the FIR.

Addressing a demonstration in Kozhikode on Friday, organized to press the demand for a CBI probe into the massacre, senior CPI(M) leader P Jayarajan said the UDF had recommended a CBI probe now not out of its sincerity in bringing out the truth of the incident but because of the intense pressure from the Opposition parties and the people.

However, legal experts are still apprehensive that the CBI may reiterate its objections to investigating the incident only partially. “There is reason to believe that the UDF could be banking on this possibility. As back as in 2006, the CBI had made it clear that it did not want to probe only certain aspects of the case,” said the lawyer.

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