Marad massacre

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The Marad massacre was the killing of eight people by a mob on 2 May 2003 at the Marad beach of the Kozhikode district, Kerala, India. One attacker 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.[1] The commission affirmed "a clear communal conspiracy, with Muslim fundamentalist and terrorist organisations involved".[1] The courts sentenced 62 Muslims to life imprisonment for committing the massacre in 2009.[2]

The attackers also threw bombs, but did not explode. Had they burst, the number of the dead would have multiplied. A large cache of swords, knives and bombs were stored in the neighbouring place 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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]
  • 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.[7]

On 2 May 2003, in the early evening, eight people were hacked to death by a mob[8] on the beach after reeling in their catch for the day. 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.[9] Mahesh Kumar Singhla was not able to give enough evidences in front of Thomas P Joseph commission on his arguments.[10]

Later, the government troops unearthed a huge cache of weapons including 17 bombs.[11] 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.".[11]

Aftermath and exodus of residents[edit]

The Marad killings created an insecure state for the inhabitants of Marad. Police, Judiciary and Legislative were indefinitely dragging the case and they were unable to bring the criminals of first and second Marad killings in front of police in spite of continuous requests[12][13] from different sects.[14] The judiciary is dragging the case indefinitely without even allowing bail for the 134 arrests, in spite of continuous requests.[15][16] This is greatly criticized 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.. During hearing, .[17] The commission's also recommends a further inquiry, involving the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) about the involvement of foreign agencies in the riots. [18]

The commission has taken a serious note of the deposition of state DGP K J Joseph, that the then of Police “failed to investigate and take prompt action in Marad.’’ .[19]

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."[10] (chapter 5, sction 37)
  • "It was unfortunate that the household items were damaged at Marad Beach in the presence of police"(chapter 5, sction 42)[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.[20]

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".[5]

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.[21]

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.[22]


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 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.[23]

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.[23]

Achuthanandan accused Chandy's Congress-led UDF, which is in coalition with other party, of having intervened in the Marad massacre case.[23]


  1. ^ a b Marad report slams Muslim League The Indian Express, 27 September 2006
  2. ^ 62 get life term for Marad killings The Indian Express, 16 January 2009
  3. ^ The Marad massacre The Hindu, Saturday, 31 May 2003
  4. ^ "Marad can yet be retrieved". 
  5. ^ a b "Marad Shocks: Frontline Weekly". Archived from the original on 12 January 2009. 
  6. ^ "Marad riots: Five years on, 63 found guilty". 
  7. ^ "62 get a lifer". 
  8. ^ "IMC India – 8 peoples hacked to death by mob in kerala". 
  9. ^ NDF behind Marad massacre?[1].
  10. ^ a b c "Copy of Thomas P Joseph Commission" (PDF). 
  11. ^ a b Weapons seized[dead link]
  12. ^ "Marad case: Kummanam's Request". The Hindu. 25 April 2004. 
  13. ^ "NDF welcomes the CBI inquiry". 27 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "CBI should also probe first Marad riot". The Hindu. 3 October 2006. 
  15. ^ "Anticipatory bail: Single Judge's directions set aside". The Hindu. 21 July 2006. 
  16. ^ "All cases to go to new court in a week". The Hindu. 11 January 2004. 
  17. ^ "The Hindu : Home Page News & Features". Frontline. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  18. ^ "Probe into Marad riots". The Times of India. 28 September 2006. 
  19. ^ "Kerala sits on riot report indicting Cong govt,". The Indian Express. 
  20. ^ Kerala tables Marad massacre report By IANS, Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 12:30 IST
  21. ^ CBI probe into Marad carnage – [2]
  22. ^ "Antony differs with Marad panel findings". The Hindu. 30 September 2006. 
  23. ^ a b c "Marad massacre: Call for CBI probe intensifies". Retrieved 18 August 2012. 

See also[edit]