Verdict on Marad case today

via Pioneer News Service | Kozhikode published on December 26, 2008

Kozhikode District Collector A Jayathilak brought areas under 13 police station limits in the district under prohibitory orders as the Special Court was scheduled to pronounce on Saturday the verdict in the case relating to the Marad massacre in which eight Hindus were chopped and hacked to death on the night of May 2, 2003. The prohibitory orders would be in force from 8.00 am Saturday to 7.00 pm Monday.

Apart from Marad where the massacre took place and Eranjippalam where the Special Court was located, Vadakara, Ndapuram, Edachery, Valayalm, Kuttyadi, Perambra, Koilandy, Koduvally, Mukkom and Beypore were the other places where the restrictions would be in force. These areas were selected for enforcement of the orders because of the possibility of communal tension.

The Police tightened the security arrangements in these areas with deployment of more policemen and by arranging special pickets and patrols. The district collector and police officials convened a religious harmony meeting on Friday morning at which the participants vowed to respect the Judiciary’s verdict. The meeting decided to hold such meets every week.

As part of the efforts to restore the confidence in the people of Marad, the electricity network in Marad was modified with installation of more street lamps and restoration of water supply. The police conducted extensive raids in the district on the eve of the announcement of the judgement.

As per the original schedule, Special court Judge Babu Mathew P Joseph 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 percent of the work, but would be able to complete it only in another month, the court had said. The District Collector 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 Eranjippalam where the special court building was and in Beypore and Marad.

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 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.

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