Kerala tables Marad massacre report

Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 07:00 Hrs
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Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government on Wednesday tabled in the assembly the judicial commission report that looked into the state's worst communal massacres in Marad in 2002 and 2003 and sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into it.

Fourteen people were killed at two separate incidents when Muslims and Hindus at the sleepy coastal village at Marad in Kozhikode district clashed with each other with the first incident taking place in January 2002 and the second one in May 2003.

The then A.K. Antony-led Congress government did not go for a CBI probe but appointed district judge Thomas P. Joseph to conduct a judicial investigation.

On Feb 20 this year, Joseph had submitted his report to the then chief minister Oommen Chandy who did not place it in the assembly on technical grounds that the government could take up to six months to table the report.

Speaking to reporters after tabling the report, Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the delay was mainly due to some procedural formalities.

"The report says the police does not bring out the entire conspiracy behind the massacre - the role of extremist organisations, large-scale flow of money and accumulation of explosives. So the commission has demanded a CBI investigation into all these and taking into account we have asked the Centre to initiate the probe," said Balakrishnan.

The report also says both Antony and the then industries minister and top Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader P.K. Kunhalikutty did not want a CBI probe.

"The report mentions about the role of the IUML and the National Development Front. IUML leaders like C. Mayin Haji and P.P. Moideen Koya have been also named and it mentions that they were aware of the conspiracy angle," Balakrishnan said.

Following the indictment by the commission of the then Kozhikode district collector T.O. Sooraj, Inspector General of Police (Crime Branch) Mahesh Kumar Singla, the then Kozhikode police commissioner Sanjeev Kumarpat Joshi and the then assistant commissioner of police Abdul Rahim, the government has decided to take action against them.

"We have sought explanations from Sooraj and Joshi. Singla has been relieved from his post and his role in the massacre will be investigated by a top police official Jacob Punnoose. Rahim would be questioned according to the police rules," the minister said.

Welcoming the decision of the government, state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president P. Sreedharan Pillai said with the IUML being named in the report, union minister of state for external affairs E. Ahamed should step down.

"The action by the Kerala government is good even though it was quite delayed," Pillai told reporters at Kozhikode.

The opposition led by the Congress demanded a discussion on the report to which Speaker K. Radhakrishnan said he would discuss with the assembly's business advisory committee before fixing a date.

Source: IANS
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