Verdict in Marad case deferred to Dec 27

via VR Jayaraj | Kozhikode - Daily Pioneer published on November 29, 2008

The Special Additional
Sessions Court, Kozhikode, deferred to December 27 the announcement of
its verdict 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. Special
court Judge Babu Mathew P Joseph, who was to announce the judgement in
the sensational case with 139 accused on Saturday, put the case off as
some more work needed to be done before the announcement.

The
court needed 20 more working days to complete the preparation of the
final judgement document. IT had completed 90 percent of the work, but
would be able to complete it only in another month. District Collector
A Jayathilak announced withdrawal of the prohibitory orders he had
imposed on eleven police station areas in the district including Marad
and Beypore.

The prohibitory orders were passed for three days
starting Saturday to avoid any untoward incident after the announcement
of the verdict in the most complex court case in the history of the
State. The Kozhikode police had deployed 1,000 additional police
personnel in sensitive areas to avoid any possible violence.

The
police had also held extensive raids and searches in sensitive places
with concentration of NDF, PDP and RSS workers in Kozhikode and
Malappuram districts in the last three days as a precautionary measure.
The police presence in the communally sensitive fishing village of
Marad also had been strengthened by deploying 180 policemen
additionally.

A large crowd had gathered at the premises of the
special court building at Eranjippalam and on the road in front of it
to hear the verdict and policemen also had been deployed in large
numbers. The announcement of postponement of the case to December 27
was made by the judge at 11.30 am.

The Kerala Government had
earlier wanted the court to defer the announcement of the judgement to
a date after December 6, the 16th anniversary of the Babri Mosque
demolition, apprehensive of possible unrest. Though it had planned to
file a petition in the court to submit this request, the move was later
dropped as there had never been a precedent on those lines.

The
special court had taken the decision to announce the judgement in the
case on Saturday 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
prison.

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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