Marad massacre

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The Marad massacre was the killing of eight Hindus by a Muslim mob on 2 May 2003 at the Marad Beach of the Kozhikode district, Kerala, India.[1] One attacker, Mohammed Ashker was hit by accident and was also killed. The judicial commission that probed the incident concluded that the Indian Union Muslim League was directly involved in both the conspiracy and execution of the massacre.[2] The commission affirmed "a clear communal conspiracy, with Muslim fundamentalist and terrorist organisations involved".[2] The commission couldn't find evidences to support involvement of foreign organisations.[2] The courts sentenced 62 Muslims to life imprisonment for committing the massacre in 2009 – most of whom belonged to the Indian Union Muslim League, People's Democratic Party, and National Development Front.[3]

The attackers also threw bombs with the intention of afflicting more deaths, but did not explode.[4] A large cache of swords, knives and bombs were stored in the neighbouring Masjid (mosque) and were later seized by the police. This stock was found to be kept ready as a reserve for a mass massacre, which did not happen in the event of police intrusion.[5]

January riots[edit]

On 3 and 4 January 2002 at Marad, three Hindus and two Muslims were killed in a sudden breach of peace due to scuffles between two groups that began as a trivial altercation over drinking water at the public tap. Police present at the time stood watching the incident, failing to capture the criminals.[6] Out of 393 people arrested, 213 were from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 86 from Muslim League, 78 from Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) and Communist Party of India (CPI), and couple of them from Indian National League (INL), National Development Front (NDF) – now renamed "Popular Front of India" and rest of the parties.[7] Government troops were later sent in to patrol the area.

  • 27 December 2008: A Special Court on Saturday convicted 63 accused, in a case relating to the May 2003 communal attack at Marad beach near Kozhikode in Kerala, while acquitting 76 others for want of evidence.[8]
  • 15 January 2009: A sessions Court in Kozhikode pronounced life sentence on 62 of 63 convicts in 2001's Marad carnage case. One convict, who has already served five years in jail, was released.[9]

Marad massacre[edit]

On 2 May 2003, in the early evening, eight Hindus were hacked to death by a Muslim mob[1] on the beach after reeling in their catch for the day. The killers then escaped into the local Juma Masjid, the Marad enquiry commission's (Justice Thomas P Joseph) report notes the submission of then Kozhikode Police Commissioner T K Vinod Kumar that hundreds of local Muslim women converged on the mosque to prevent the police from entering it to catch the attackers[10]

Initial investigation report of the Crime Branch Inspector General of Police, Mahesh Kumar Singhla, had dropped enough hints that the NDF was behind the massacre of eight people at Marad on 2 May.[11] Mahesh Kumar Singhla was not able to give enough evidences in front of Thomas P Joseph commission on his arguments.[12]

Later, the government troops unearthed a huge cache of weapons including 17 bombs.[13] The police commissioner, TK Vinod Kumar stated: "It was an operation carried out by a well-knit organization. It was a quick and sudden attack which was over in 10 minutes. The attack came from a particular community.".[13]

One of the attackers, Mohammed Ashker, also killed during the incident. The police recovered explosives and arms from the local Juma Masjid two days after the killings as well as special investigation team of the Kerala Crime Branch filed charge sheets against 147 people accused of involvement or complicity in the crime.[14]

Aftermath and exodus of residents[edit]

The Marad killings created an insecure state for the inhabitants of Marad and it still continues. Police, Judiciary and Legislative are indefinitely dragging the case and they are unable to bring the criminals of first and second Marad killings in front of police in spite of continuous requests[15][16] from different sects.[17] The judiciary is dragging the case indefinitely without even allowing bail for the 134 arrests, in spite of continuous requests.[18][19] This is greatly criticised by all the concerned parties.[who?]

Commission of Inquiry by Justice Thomas P Joseph[edit]

The Marad Massacre had caused a public uproar against the apathetic approach of the investigating agency and mushrooming of a new breed of religious fundamentalism in the Kerala State. There were persistent demands for a judicial enquiry in the matter, in pursuance whereto, the then UDF government had appointed Thomas.P.Joseph (District & Sessions Judge) as the Commission of Inquiry. He had submitted his report during February 2006 and the LDF ministry tabled the report during September 2006. The report had elucidated that a person known as "F.M." (Finance Minister) had funded for the massacre and also cast aspersions on various political parties and the government officials including the District Collector T.O.Sooraj Mohamed. A person named Hilal Mohammed (F.M.who was handling the smuggling of counterfeit goods at Calicut Airport) too has filed a petition demanding a probe into his alleged involvement in the matter. Both these petitions were filed through Advocate S.K.Premraj. During hearing, Advocate Premraj submitted that Hilal Mohammed's life is under imminent threat.[20] The role of Indian Union Muslim Leader P. P. Modieen Koya and Mayin Haji (then chairman Kozhikode Development Authority)was also highlighted in the report. The commission's also recommends a further inquiry, involving the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) about the involvement of foreign agencies in the riots. [21]

The commission has taken a serious note of the deposition of state DGP K J Joseph, that the then Assistant Commissioner of Police (Kozhikode) Abdul Rahim "failed to investigate and take prompt action in Marad.'’ The DGP deposed that Rahim not only '‘hid the truth from his superior officers'’ but also tried to establish that the key accused in the massacre on the beach on 2 May 2003 were not guilty.[10]

Key findings of Justice Thomas P Joseph Commission[edit]

  • "The patrolling and search for weapons said to be made by the local police were not effective or purposeful. To put shortly, the local police was lethargic in their attitude towards the situation at Marad Beach."[12] (chapter 5, section 37)
  • "It was unfortunate that the household items were damaged at Marad Beach in the presence of police"(chapter 5, section 42)[12]
  • Coming in for strong indictment is then Kozhikode District Collector T O Sooraj Mohamed, currently director of Industries for colluding with Muslim League leadership in covering up facts. The commission has observed that allegations that the Collector was a communalist cannot be dismissed as untrue. The Collector had taken custody of the mosque from where the police had seized lethal weapons. But, the commission noted, he allowed Muslim League leader E Ahmed, then an MP and now Minister of State for External Affairs, to enter the mosque (The local Juma Masjid mentioned earlier in the article) and offer prayers, even as an explosive situation prevailed in the area[10]
  • The then Chief Minister A.K.Antony and the then industries minister and top Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader P.K. Kunhalikutty opposed any CBI probe into the massacre.[22]
  • The report mentions about the role of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and the National Development Front (NDF). IUML leaders like C. Mayin Haji and P.P. Moideen Koya were named to be aware of the conspiracy beforehand.[22]

Commission's main recommendation[edit]

The commission's main recommendation, was a further inquiry, involving the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, into the "larger conspiracy" involving fundamentalist and other forces, and into the source of the explosives and funds that the CBCID "failed or refused" to investigate – an act that the commission described as "quite suspicious and disturbing".[7]

Responses on commission's report[edit]

The Home minister of Kerala Government had written to the Union Government on 12 September 2006 recommending the CBI probe into the conspiracy behind the riots and issues such as the involvement of fundamentalist outfits, their foreign connections and source of funding and how they succeeded in secretly stockpiling weapons in the village for use in the riots.[23]

A.K. Antony, who was the Chief Minister during both incidents, differed on Commission findings with a main point that the first round of violence should have included in the report.[24]


Special court in Kozhikode on 15 January 2009 sentenced 62 of the 63 convicts to life in the May 2003 Marad carnage case. The case relates to the murder of eight Hindu fishermen by an armed mob at Marad beach on the night of 2 May 2003. One of the assailants was also killed during the attack. There were a total of 139 accused in the case. In December 2008, additional sessions Judge Babu Mathew P Joseph convicted 62 people for murder while a person was found guilty of abetment. The rest were acquitted of all charges.

Renewed demands for CBI probe[edit]

On 17 April 2012, Kerala High Court observed that there had been "deep conspiracy" behind the incident and that police had failed in investigating it effectively.[25]

The Opposition leader VS Achuthanandan accused Chief Minister Oommen Chandy of trying to sabotage the Marad massacre case. BJP and Hindu Aikya Vedi and CPI(M)'s State secretariat member Elamaram Kareem also called for a probe by the Central agency.[25]

Achuthanandan accused Chandy's Congress-led UDF, which is in coalition with Indian Union Muslim League, of having intervened in the Marad massacre case.[25]

Kerala BJP president V Muraleedharan wanted initiation of a case against senior Muslim League leader MC Mayin Haji who had prior knowledge of massacre plan, according to the Judicial Commission.[25]

New FIR[edit]

In 2016, CBI filed a fresh FIR with Muslim League leaders included in the list of accused. [26]


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  26. [archive]

See also[edit]