Verdict in Marad case tomorrow

via Pioneer News Service | Kozhikode published on November 27, 2008

District Collector A Jayathilak on Thursday clamped prohibitory orders
on the fishing area of Marad and Beypore in the district in view of the
announcement of verdict by a special court on Saturday in the case
relating to the massacre at Marad fishing village on the night of May
2, 2003 in which eight Hindus were chopped and hacked to death.

verdict is going to be announced by the special court amidst the Kerala
Cabinet’s decision to ask the Centre once again to launch a CBI probe
into certain aspects of the Marad massacre. However, a decision on this
was yet to come. The prohibitory orders would be in force for three
days from Saturday. He said there would be no load-shedding or power
cut on these days in these areas.

The decision to announce the
judgement in the case on November 29 was taken on August 22 last by the
special court here in consultation 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.

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 of the accused
are still the prison.

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.

People of the village still
say that distrust among villagers is still rampant and there are no
efforts from the authorities to instill confidence in the people. The
Government and the Police Department still find Marad as a potential
trouble-spot and uniformed personnel are still to withdraw from the
area. People in the three-sq-km village feel that their habitat is
still not safe. There could be terror elements lurking in the shadows,
they fear.

Kerala had witnessed several political dramas as
the case proceeded through the four years with complaints being raised
that the leading parties in the two main fronts were not interested in
taking the case to a good conclusion. This had also reflected when 70
of the accused were granted bail with stringent conditions by the High

The accused were granted bail on stringent conditions
after the Government counsel failed to convince the court that this
would imperil social equilibrium. Hindu organisations had criticised
the Government for not showing the required will power in dealing with
the situation.

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 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
mobilisation 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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