State for CBI probe into Marad massacre

via Pioneer News Service | Kannur published on November 16, 2008

In an obvious divergence from the known CPI(M) position on the Marad massacre case, Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Sunday said that the State Government would ask the Union Government to launch a CBI probe into the aspects of conspiracy, weapons amassment and inter-State relations behind the massacre in which eight Hindus were chopped and hacked to death on the night of May 2 at communally sensitive Marad village, of Beypore in Kozhikode.

Speaking at a function here, Kodiyeri said that the State Government had raised this demand before the Central Government three times earlier but it was sabotaged mysteriously. He said it was up to the Congress to answer the question how this demand was sabotaged.

The State Government’s decision to ask for a CBI probe into the massacre just when the Marad Special Court is scheduled to announce its verdict in the case on November 29 at Kozhikode. The trails in the case, started on December 20, 2004, had concluded at the Special Court on April 10 last.

The Indian Union Muslim League responded quickly to Kodiyeri’s statement saying it was an effort to create a smokescreen while the BJP wanted to know whether the CPI(M) had changed its earlier position that there was no need of a CBI probe into the massacre.

The Home Minister said that the State Government had, on the basis of the report of the Justice Joseph Thomas Commission that probed the massacre, asked the Union Government three times to enquire into the conspiracy aspect of the incident. He said this was sabotaged in Delhi.

“Why was this demand sabotaged? Who had worked in the Centre to sabotage it? The Congress in Kerala should answer these questions,” said the Minister.

Kodiyeri said the State Government would once more raise the demand before the Centre as it was keen to bring out the truth behind the incident, the conspiracy, weapons mobilisation and the inter-State and foreign connections. He said such a Central probe could take place apart from the Crime Branch case, on which the verdict was to come shortly.

Home Ministry sources asserted that such a probe would not contradict the efforts of the Crime Branch in investigating the case. The proposed investigations were into aspects which were yet to be covered, they said.

State BJP vice-president V Muraleedharan asked for an explanation from the CPI (M) whether it had changed its earlier position that there was no need of a Central probe into the massacre. “The Home Minister must say whether the demand is being made in his capacity as Home Minister or whether the CPI (M) has changed its stand. Is this new demand on the basis of any new evidences the Home Ministry has got?” he asked.

The Marad special court was scheduled to pronounce its verdict in the case on November 29. There were a total of 139 accused in the case. Seventy of the accused had been granted bail in three lots as per the special conditions laid out by the Kerala High Court.

The court in the process of the case had examined 5,500 pages of depositions by witnesses. Altogether there were 222 witnesses from the prosecution side and seven for the defendants. The court had examined seven witnesses it had found on its own. It had also examined 778 exhibits submitted by the prosecution and 57 exhibits produced by the defence counsels.

Though more than five years have passed since the massacre, people of the village say that distrust among the villagers is still rampant and there are no efforts from the authorities to instill confidence in the people. People in the three-sq-km village still fear that there could be terror elements lurking in the shadows.

Kerala had witnessed several political dramas as the case proceeded with complaints being raised that the leading parties in the two main fronts were not interested in taking the case to a just conclusion

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