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22 January 2012

LDF calls for CBI probe into Marad massacre

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By T K Devasia

Trivandrum: Kerala’s opposition Left Democratic Front has revived their demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the second Marad massacre case in the southern Indian state.

The recommendation for such a probe made by the previous LDF government was turned down by the federal government and subsequently the High Court.

Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan on Saturday made a renewed plea for a CBI probe in the wake of the dismantling of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by the last government headed by him by the present United Democratic Front government.

Achuthanandan alleged that the Crime Branch team led by Superintendent of Police C.M Pradeep Kumar was dissolved after the probe started moving towards some ruling front leaders. He told reporters that the previous government’s efforts for a CBI probe into the case were scuttled by such vested interests.

The State High Court has also expressed concern over the transfer of the members of the SIT. A division bench of the court has directed the state government to file a detailed statement after a week. The State police chief has been asked by the court to give his views why the court should not order restoration of the same investigation team with the same members.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy denied any move to scuttle the investigation. He said that the transfer of the SIT head to the Human Rights Commission and its members to other wings of the police was part of the normal administrative procedures and there was nothing suspicious behind it.

However, Elamaram Kareem, former Industries Minister and the present legislator representing Marad, saw the transfers as an attempt by the government to shield communal and extremist elements.

The LDF government had proposed the CBI probe after the Judicial Commission that inquired into the carnage recommended a probe by an external agency into the larger conspiracy and foreign funding. The commission had found that local activists of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the second largest constituent of the UDF, and the Rashtriya Swayam Sevaksangh (RSS) were involved in the conspiracy.

The commission also found that parties like the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and IUML organisations like the pro-Muslim National Development Front and the RSS had also tried to take advantage of the communal hatred unleashed by the massacre.

The Marad carnage was the worst incidence of communal violence in Kerala, which was traditionally known for the communal harmony.

The massacre, in which eight Hindu fishermen and a Muslim were killed at Marad, a fishing hamlet in Calicut district, was an act of revenge against a communal flare up in the village in January 2002, in which three Muslims and two Hindus were hacked to death.

As many as 62 persons accused in the massacre have been sentenced to life imprisonment.

(Courtesy: Khaleej Times)

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