Tight security for Marad case verdict

via PNS | Kozhikode published on December 24, 2008

The district authorities
in Kozhikode stepped up security arrangements in the areas near the
special court handling the Marad case and the fishing villages of Marad
and Beypore as the date set for pronouncing the verdict approached. The
special court was to pass the order in the case relating to the
massacre of eight Hindus and the death of one Muslim in Marad on the
night of May 2, 2003 on Saturday.

Special court Judge Babu
Mathew P Joseph, who was to announce the judgement in the sensational
case with 139 accused on November 29, but he put the case off to
December 27 as some more work had to be completed before the
announcement.

The court had said it needed 20 more working days
to complete the preparation of the final judgement document. It had
completed 90 per cent of the work, but would be able to complete it
only in another month, the court had said. District Collector A
Jayathilak had then imposed prohibitory orders on eleven police station
areas in the district including Marad and Beypore for three days.

On
Tuesday and Wednesday, District Collector Jayathilak and City Police
Commissioner Anup John Kuruvila visited various tense areas and
reviewed the situation. They said at least 1,000 policemen, including
personnel from the Armed Reserve and Kerala Armed Police, would be
deployed in and around Eranhippalam where the special court building
was and in Beypore and Marad.

A meeting, in which political and
religious leaders took part, was also held as part of preparations. K
Das of the Araya Samajan and Waqf Board member Hussain Madavoor were
among those who took part in the meeting.

Before the earlier
date set for the judgement, the police had held extensive raids and
searches in sensitive places with concentration of NDF, PDP and RSS
workers in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts as a precautionary
measure.

The police presence in the communally sensitive
fishing village of Marad also had also been strengthened by deploying
180 policemen additionally.

The special court had taken the
decision to announce the judgement in the case on November 29 on August
22 last after consultations with the counsels of the prosecution and
defendants. The Marad massacre had caused long-standing tension in the
entire area. Despite several law-and-order and social campaigns, the
residents of Marad are yet to return to a life of confidence.

There
are a total of 139 accused in the case, the trial of which had started
on December 20, 2004. The trial had concluded on April 10 last. Seventy
of the accused had been granted bail in three lots as per the special
conditions laid out by the Kerala High Court. Sixty-nine accused
persons are still imprison.

In the process of the case, the
court 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 defense counsels.

Amidst allegations
of a CPI(M) bid to use the Marad massacre issue to its advantage in the
coming Lok Sabha polls, the LDF Cabinet had on November 19 approved a
proposal to freshly demand a CBI probe into the case.

The
Government was to send a letter to the Union Government asking for a
CBI probe into the aspects of conspiracy, sources of funds, involvement
of external forces, use of explosives and mobilization of weapons in
the massacre.

The Government said that a CBI probe was being
demanded as such an investigation had to be carried out by an agency
with access to international-level operation was needed.

The
decision to demand such a probe was being raised in the context of the
recent terror attacks in various places in the country and the police
investigation reports about operation of terror elements in the State.

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