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Friday, December 8, 2023

More sentences in the 2003 Marad massacre that left 8 Hindus dead

Anangadi Koyamon alias Hydroskutty and Kalluvencheveettil Nizamudeen, the last two accused in the infamous Marad massacre, were pronounced guilty by the special court handling the matter. The special judge K.S. Ambika sentenced both of them to double life imprisonment. The gruesome killings of Hindus happened at a fishing village called Marad in Kozhikode district of north Kerala on May 2, 2003.

Around 90 Islamists went on a rampage armed with swords, knives and country-made bombs that were kept in a local mosque. 8 Hindus and a Muslim were killed that day. The Muslim who was killed died after sustaining injuries from his own co-assailants. 16 Hindus including 2 women were seriously injured that night.

Both Koyamon & Nizamudeen were tried separately since they had absconded when the trial was taking place. Koyamon was the bomb maker and Nizamudeen had directly taken part in the killings. Both had taken part in the conspiracy. 

Nizamudeen was caught from the Karipur airport while trying to escape to an Arab country in October 2010. Koyamon escaped to Hyderabad but was arrested from his hideout near South Beach, Kozhikode in January 2011.

The accused were charged with conspiracy, murder, attempt to murder, promoting enmity between different religions, unlawful assembly, rioting with deadly weapons, house trespassing to commit an offense and for hurt using dangerous weapons. Sections related to the explosives substances act, arms act and misuse of religious institutions were also imposed.

In January 2009, 62 of the 148 accused were sentenced to life imprisonment and 1 was awarded a 5-year-term for abetment.  24 others were later sentenced to life by the Kerala High court. In April 2012, the Kerala High Court noted that there was a deep conspiracy behind the incident and added that the police failed to investigate effectively. This corroborated what many locals feared- that such well-planned violence involving a large number of people could not have been possible without backing from sections of admin and police. INC’s “Mr. Clean” and Sonia loyalist AK Antony was the CM at the time.

The initial judicial inquiry into the incident submitted in 2006 found the mushrooming of a new breed of religious fundamentalism. It indicated the active participation of political leaders, police higher-ups and bureaucrats. Funding and involvement of foreign agencies in the massacre prompted calls for a CBI inquiry.

Conspirators included leaders from the Congress party (INC), the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and the National Development Front (NDF). The NDF was later banned but it still survives under the banner of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and continues to stoke violence and spread hate all over Bharat. 

Islamists attacked the Hindu fishermen and killed them when they were reeling in their catch of the day. Political pressure and a bureaucratic nexus made sure that the police remained mute spectators when the attacks happened even though they allegedly had prior information. Hindu homes and their fishing boats were torched in their presence. 

All this created insecurity among the Hindus and still continues even today. In the aftermath of the massacre, many poor Hindu fishermen and their families migrated to other parts of the district and the state. Even after all these years, the area is still under heavy police bandobast and reminds a visitor of Kashmir. 

Incidentally, Marad is part of the Beypore constituency, the epicenter of ‘green communism’. The sitting MLA is P.A. Mohammed Riyas, Pinarayi Vijayan’s son-in-law and the incumbent tourism & public works department minister. Riyas’s father P.M. Abdul Khader IAS was the Kozhikode commissioner of police from April 2000 to June 2001. The buildup of arms and explosives did not happen overnight. 

A rabid anti-Hindu Islamist propagandist associated with the PFI named O Abdulla had recently said that following the Marad Massacre, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) could have easily looted and destroyed the city of Kozhikode but refrained from doing so. He claimed that the RSS knows that most businesses in Kozhikode are owned by Muslim traders. The circumstances were perfect to turn it into a civil war but it did not since the RSS ‘showed maturity’.

Even after all these years, it is hard to shake off the feeling that the real conspirators have not been punished.

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